The Funeral Pre-Planning Checklist: A Guide

Funeral pre-planning is an important task that many people put off for too long. It can be difficult to think about, but it's worth doing the research now before you're faced with the decision of what to do when a loved one passes away. This article provides a checklist of things that you need to know and do before your time comes.

One of the most important things to do is to make sure that you have a will. This document ensures that your wishes are carried out after you die. It's also important to designate someone you trust as the executor of your estate. You'll need to gather all of your important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, and insurance policies. You should also think about what type of funeral service you want and where you would like it held.

Things to prepare

Laying the foundation for a well-thought-out plan for you or a loved one takes a bit of time, but it's worth every moment spent. After all, you’re setting the stage for a more relaxed and enjoyable life, because you’ll have the peace-of-mind preparedness brings. Here’s what to do to get started:

  • Prepare a contact list of individuals who should be notified in a medical emergency or death.
  • Write an obituary or simply jot down information you would like included in an obituary.
  • Decide where the obituary and memorial information should appear.
  • Choose the type of funeral service you would like including the burial you prefer and make those arrangements.
  • Decide on Cemetery lot location.
  • Shop for casket type; cremation urn type.
  • Vault or sectional crypt.
  • Type of service: religious, military, non-denominational, or fraternal.
  • The contact details for the funeral home you designate to care for you.
  • Pallbearers, music, flowers, scripture or other readings.
  • Charity to receive donations in lieu of flowers, if donations are preferred.
  • Select the speakers and the eulogies that you would want to represent you.
  • Decide what organizations or churches will benefit from memorial donations in your name if any.

Get Started

If you have animal companions, think about who would like to take care of them. Consult with the person and write down intentions including contact information before signing it in order for your executor can know what needs doing on behalf of these animals too!

If you have any final wishes or things you would like to express, write them down in a letter to be read at your funeral. Make sure that all of these documents are kept with your will and other important estate planning materials.

Arrange and Delegate

The people who know and care about you will be there when you need them. You only need to provide them with instructions, important financial details, and then relax. You’re in good hands.

1. Give your Executor a copy of your Will. Safety deposit boxes are often opened up during the estate settlement process, long after the funeral. Any funeral planning documents therein can be of no help to your executor.

2.  Make sure your representative has a list of important account information or telephone numbers for retirement plans, insurance policies, investments, bank accounts, safe-deposit boxes, properties, preferred law and accountant firms and mortuaries. Remind your personal representative that the Social Security Administration will need to be called and, if you're receiving benefits such as those from the Veteran's Administration, they should be contacted as well.

3. Designate a power of attorney to ensure that proper information can be accessed in the event of your illness or death. Make sure a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will are in place so that your wishes are carried out if you are unable to do so.

4. Make arrangements for telephone and utility services, and newspaper and magazine deliveries, to be canceled.


You will also want to notify your bank and credit card companies of the death. Be sure to ask about any automatic payments that may need to be canceled, such as insurance premiums or gym memberships.  It's also important to cancel subscriptions for things like cable TV and internet service.

Finally, once everything is all settled, it would be advisable to pre-pay your funeral. In this way. if the prices of funerals go up, you are guaranteed with today's pricing.

You can also contact Roslyn Heights Funeral Home at (516) 621-4545 for additional information. We're pleased to answer any questions you may have, without obligation.