Planning a Funeral: What to Expect

a coffin with memorial flowers

Dealing with the grief of losing a loved one can be overwhelming and difficult. Then, having to plan a funeral while working through these emotions can feel like too much to bear. However, it can be made easier by knowing what to expect. To help, Tegeler has created this brief guide with information on what to expect when you’re planning a funeral, and some tips to help make it easier and more bearable.

Help From Others

When you lose a loved one, those that are left behind often come together to support each other during the difficult times. When planning a funeral, you can expect people to offer their sympathies, and even offer to help with other activities. For example, they may assist in planning the services or burial, bring food, flowers, or cards to the family, or help with other tasks.

The important thing is to lean on those who are there to help, because it can help keep you from feeling alone or overwhelmed and can help ease the grieving process.

Notification of Appropriate Parties

When someone passes away, the first thing you’ll have to do is notify the deceased’s attending physician, a coroner, or a medical examiner to officially pronounce death. If the person passes away in a hospital or care facility, this is arranged by staff. Otherwise, you may need to make the call.

The next calls are to family members who should be made aware of the person’s passing.

Next, contact your loved one’s legal representative so the executor of the estate can be notified, and given direction on how to proceed.

You’ll also need to contact a funeral director, who can help you make arrangements to transfer the body from the place of death to a funeral home or other care facility. If your loved one hasn’t shared a specific funeral service provider to work with, you should contact the funeral home that will handle the final arrangements.

Information you’ll need when you contact the funeral director includes:

  • The name of the deceased
  • Their residence and SSN
  • Time of death
  • Current location of the deceased
  • Attending physician name and contact information
  • Your name, residence, and contact information
  • Your relationship to your loved one

Confirmation of Pre-Arrangements

When you contact your loved one’s legal representation, they will tell you if there is a pre-arranged funeral plan. Or, you may need to talk to other family members to learn of any requests.

These plans can be very detailed, or they may be general. The more detailed they are, the fewer decisions you’ll have to make.

Examples of pre-arrangements [CC1] may include a funeral service provider, instructions on the type of burial preferred, information about requested funeral services, selected burial products, a cemetery preference, and other considerations.

Arrangement of Funeral Services

If your loved one left pre-arrangements, the expectation here is that you would work with the funeral director or others included in the plan to execute the prior arrangements.

If there were no pre-arrangements, you’ll have to meet with a funeral director to make arrangements for funeral services. During this meeting, you’ll discuss how the deceased will be cared for, the type of burial you wish to have, and what type of ceremony will be had. For example, will it be a religious, military, or fraternal funeral service? Does your loved one want to be buried or cremated? Do they want a traditional in-ground burial, above-ground burial, or natural burial? Where will the services be held?

You’ll also need to choose and schedule a clergy member or officiant to perform services.

Finally, once these details are worked through, an obituary will need to be prepared, which will announce the person has passed away and offer details about their life and any final funeral arrangements.

Confirmation of Cemetery Arrangements

Similarly, if there aren’t already pre-arrangements, you will have to purchase a cemetery property where your loved one will be laid to rest. This happens during a meeting with officials of the selected cemetery, or with the funeral director. At this time, you’ll also need to discuss a graveside service if desired.

Select Funeral and Memorial Products

Products you may have to choose include a casket or urn, memorial items, flowers, and more. You can work with a local memorial and monument company, like Tegeler. We can help you plan and design a monument, marker, or other memorial to honor your loved one. You can also use this time to plan the details of any services. This includes who will be notified, who will carry the casket, choosing a florist, planning speakers, songs, or prayers during the service, etc.

This is a lot to take on. Don’t hesitate to work with a trusted local company and ask friends or family to be there for you to help make it easier.

Help Put Affairs in Order

After the funeral, you may be expected to help put affairs in order. This could include sending death notices, filing claim benefits, or starting the probate process for your loved one’s assets. Working with a probate attorney or your loved one’s legal representation will help make this process easier. It will also ensure you don’t forget anything that needs done.

Contact Tegeler Monument

Tegeler is a family business that has been serving our communities for years, helping people plan and choose monuments and memorials for themselves or their loved ones and providing resources to help them through the funeral planning and grieving process. Contact Tegeler Monument to get support through all your monument and memorial planning needs.