Funeral Planning Questions
As you move through the process of planning a funeral and laying your loved one to rest, you’ll be asked quite a few questions about your wishes and the wishes of the deceased. To avoid decision burnout and falling into the trap of paying for more than you need, it’s best to go to the funeral home with a few choices already in place.
That’s why we recommend you sit down with your family and ask yourselves these funeral planning questions before you head into the visit with your funeral director. Discussion questions for the family meeting include:
What is the budget for the funeral? Know your maximum price tag before you make any other decisions. Your budget will determine what your options are and what kind of choices are available to you.
How will the funeral be paid for? Whether the deceased left an estate or a life insurance policy behind, or if a family member will be footing the bill, it’s important to know where the money will be coming from.
Who is going to take the lead for all decisions and discussions with the funeral home? Although making joint decisions is perfectly fine, it’s best to have one spokesperson in charge of all communication.
How will you dispose of the body? The three primary options are cremation, burial, or donation to science.
Will you hold a funeral service or a memorial service? Traditionally, a funeral service is defined as when the body is present, and a memorial service is defined as when the body is not.
Do you want to have a visitation/viewing? Regardless of whether you’re having a funeral service or a memorial service, there’s an additional option to have a formal viewing of the body. (In most cases, this will require you to have the body embalmed.)
Will a graveside service be included? This question generally leads to several more, including who will be invited to the graveside service, and whether or not you’ll have a procession on the way to the cemetery.
Where do you want the service to be held? Most families opt for the funeral home, church, or a family home.
Do you want to host a reception or meal after the funeral? Depending on the time of day of the funeral, you can host a funeral luncheon, dinner, drinks, or simply a gathering with snacks. (This question will also lead to several more, including where you want to hold the reception and what kind of refreshments to provide).
Of course, these just represent the first few questions you’ll be asked by the funeral director. More specific details and arrangements are sure to follow, including everything from transportation to funeral flowers. Get the big decisions out of the way and settled, and you’ll feel better able to handle the smaller questions that will arise as you navigate your way to a fitting farewell. Avoid family conflict by agreeing on these key funeral planning aspects and focus on supporting each other through the grief and sadness of the loss.