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 the 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, during this emotional time, there is a plan going into the meeting. The funeral (not including the grave and tombstone) can run from $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 it?
- It’s OK to say “no” at the funeral home if the family feels they are trying to upsell services or items the family doesn’t really need (ex. Memorial items, Video tributes, Casket insurance because there is no such thing).
What to bring to the meeting
- Bring the burial 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.
- 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
- If burial, open/closed casket
- If cremation, burial, or mausoleum
- If cremation, choice of the urn; plans for ashes (one urn or split among smaller containers)
- If cremation is the option chosen, Important to NOT include metal objects as they may cause an explosion and do not melt easily.
- Embalming (needed for an open casket)
- Clothes for Burial
- Does the family have items to put in the casket (toys, mementos, jewelry)?
- How will social media be handled?
- Should pictures be taken at any event?
- Accommodations for pets?
- Arrangements to drive the family
- Get a list of donations for thank you notes
Funeral Service Options
- Church, Chapel, graveside, or other venues
- 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)
- Date and Time (min 24 hours after the home receives the body)
- Poems – See here for examples.
- Program – See here for examples
- Obituary Posting – See here for examples
- Military honors: Contact local VFW or recruiting offices. A “DD214” is needed for services so a flag can be presented to the family.
- Patriot Guard Riders can do military escorts from Funeral Home to Cemetery. (Most states have a local chapter)
- Pictures for the slideshow (100–200 on a flash drive)
- 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 (like Legos, beach, fishing, etc.)?
- Frames for all of the pictures
- Picture for the casket
- Pictures for the program
- Pictures for the tables
Reception after the Funeral
- Host volunteers
- Food/Catering – Options for saving money include asking family and friends to bring some of the food and drinks
- Announcement of the services and ways to support the family on the Website
- Identifying if anyone needs travel assistance
- Obituaries can be done by the Funeral Home or the family. The Funeral Home will do a basic obituary most times on their website but the family can add to it if available.
- Location and cost of the plot
- Types of headstones allowed
- Date for headstone installation