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Funeral Meeting Preparation

The meeting will take approximately 2.5 hours if the funeral home and cemetery are in close proximity; longer if they are not in the same location. Following are items that should be discussed with the family prior to the meeting:

Possible services offered by funeral home

  • Memorabilia – The funeral home will have options such as obtaining hair and fingerprints
  • Budget – Be aware of fees.  It is important to discuss this ahead of time so that there is a plan going into the meeting so that emotions do not take over. The funeral (not including the grave and tombstone) can run $7,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the options that are chosen.
  • If the funeral home includes a package with items such as thank you notes, will these be purchased?
  • If there is a passion care line that can be made available to the family and community will the family want to use?

What to bring to the meeting

  • Bring the insurance policy (Number and contact person) if there is one
    • Know the face value amount of the policy
    • Are there any exclusions?
    • Most insurance companies will not pay until they receive a death certificate
    • Since Insurance companies can take 30 -45 days to pay, most funeral homes use a 3rd party to collect the money because it is due prior to the funeral. There can be a charge of between 5% and 10% for this service. Can the family cover the expenses to save this money?
  • Driver’s License of the person responsible for the payment
  • Bring a checkbook or credit card if the family is paying
  • Vital Information of the deceased will be needed for the death certificate (See the Resource page for a downloadable copy)
    • Full Name
    • Residence Address
    • Social Security Number
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Marital Status
    • Highest Level of Education
    • Father’s First Name
    • Mother’s First Name

Burial Options

  • Burial/Cremation
  • If burial, Open/Closed casket
  • If cremation, burial or mausoleum
  • If cremation, choice of urn; plans for ashes (one urn or split among smaller containers)
  • Embalming (needed for an open casket)
  • Clothes for Burial
  • Does the family have items to put in the casket? (toys, mementos, jewelry)

General Considerations

  • How will the social media be handled
  • Should pictures be taken at any event?
  • Accommodations for pets?
  • Arrangements to drive the family?
  • Get list of donations for thank you notes

Funeral Service Options

  • Church, Chapel, graveside or other venue
  • Who will perform the service?  Who will brief them and when?  Who is the point person for the interaction and coordination?
  • How many people are expected
  • Pallbearers (6 or 8)
  • Speakers
  • Date and Time (min 24 hours after the home receives the body)
  • Transportation
  • Poems – See the website for examples
  • Program – See the website for examples
  • Obituary Posting – see the website for examples
  • Music

Visitation Options

  • Pictures for the slideshow (100 – 200 on a flash drive)
  • Flowers/Decorations
  • Should the room be divided so that the family does not have to stand with the casket?
  • Pictures and memorabilia (do pictures need to be scanned?)
  • Try to involve the immediate family in picking out memorabilia
  • Personalization – special themes?  Legos, Beach, Fishing
  • Music
  • Frames for all of the pictures
  • Picture for the casket
  • Pictures for the program
  • Pictures for the tables

Reception after the Funeral

  • Location
  • Host volunteers
  • Food/Catering – Options for saving money include asking family and friends to bring some of the food and drinks

Communications

  • Announcement of the services and ways to support the family on the Website
  • Identifying if anyone needs travel assistance

Plot

  • Location and cost of the plot
  • Types of headstones allowed
  • Date for headstone installation