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, during this emotional time, there is a plan going into the meeting. 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 it?
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)
- 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
- 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
- Location and cost of the plot
- Types of headstones allowed
- Date for headstone installation