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_________________________________________________________________By failing to _________________________________________________________________prepare you are _________________________________________________________________planning to fail.~

_________________________________________________________________Benjamin _________________________________________________________________Franklin


Planning a funeral takes patience, organization, and time, which in many cases is not abundant. The following is a list of things you will need to do as well as money saving tips to keep you within your budget. Check them off as you go along or plug them into a calendar to keep yourself on track.  Each item also has an estimated amount of time it will take to complete each task or ETE (estimated time to execute).

Quick Links to topics of interest:


Obituary/Pictures/Flowers__________Limosine/Clothing________Thank You/Repast


 Pick a funeral home.

_____Preferably, one that you are familiar with.

_____ETE 3 hours

Call the funeral home

_____make arrangements for transportation of the body and schedule a meeting.

Make a budget

_____This is the most important task on the list.  If you are working with a limited budget it will be important to have a figure and deduct each purchase from it while making decisions.

_tip___Remember that your loved one has transitioned to another place and while you want to honor them, going into excessive debt that may later cause you great stress is not necessary.

_____Collect all insurance documents, wills, and bank account information. Also contact the deceased employer past/present.

_____ETE 3+ hours

Contact all family, friends, associates, and your employer if you will be taking time off.

_tip__You may want to inform them of when they should call back for the arrangement information that way you can put it on voicemail and it will save you time later. (Single space)

_____ETE 3 hours

Arrangements (Funeral Home, Crematorium, Memorial)

_____Meet with the funeral home to make arrangements

_____Have 2-3 different days and times that you are willing to have the services

__tip_____The most expensive days are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

__tip______Remember that funeral homes are in the business of making money so beware of extra's that really are not necessary. 

_____ETE 1-2 hours

Pick a casket

_____Caskets can be purchased from the funeral home, casket store, or wholesale clubs

 _____ETE 2-3 hours

Pick a Cemetery/Crematorium

_____Keep the distance of the funeral home in mind as well as where other relatives have been laid to rest.

_____If there is no family plot visit the cemetery and pick a plot and headstone or marker.

__tip____Remember,  if your budget is tight a headstone can be purchased at a later date. 

__tip____It takes 6-8 weeks to have it installed after purchase.  This means that even if you purchase a headstone it will not be in place until after the funeral.

_____ETE 3+ hours

Contact all family, friends, and associates

_____Give arrangement information

_____Many people will want to do something use the list on the Repast Page to help delegate responsibilities.

_tip___Don't forget you have to eat so if someone offers, accept meals for you and your family, it will help more than you know.

_____ETE 3+ hours (Unless you took the above advice)

Write the obituary.

_____To make the task easy it is best to have no more than 2 people collaborate to write the obituary.  You can invite

__tip___other to write down suggestions but the person(s) that are responsible should have total control over the final product.

_____Use the Obituary Guide on the Charts Page.

__tip___Today many people put the pictures of  loved ones on the cover but clip art, a scripture, or quote is also acceptable. This is a good way to save money

_____ETE 5 hours (Includes writing, editing and proofreading)

Find a nice picture of your loved one.

_____ETE 1 hour


_____If you would like a reef or casket cover of flowers, go to a trusted and/or reputable flower shop to pick an arrangement.

__tip__It is important to remember that the flowers, after leaving the funeral home, will be left at the gravesite.  Keep this in mind, in reference to cost, when choosing flowers.

_____Consider accepting donations in your loved ones name in lieu of flowers. Money or goods can be given to charities, religious organizations, non-profit organizations, or schools that the departed supported or had affiliations.

_____ETE 1 hour


_____Rent a limousine if you opted not to rent it with the funeral home.

__tip_A limousine is not required.  You can ask a family friend with a minivan, large car or SUV to drive the family. 

_____ETE 1-2 hours

Find an outfit for your loved one.

_____Most funeral homes will require that they have socks/stockings and/or shoes/slippers.

_____They may also require a button up shirt or scarf.

_____Utilizing a favorite outfit/suit is advisable, however, if you must purchase something new remember that unless otherwise requested that casket will be half closed.

__tip_Check Marshall's, T.J. Maxx, Burlington Coat Factor, Value City, or similar stores for affordable clothing.

_____ETE 3+ hours

Purchase thank you cards and stamps.

_tip__It is much easier to write thank you cards as tokens, acts and/or gifts are received as opposed to waiting until after services. (Single space)

_____ETE 1-2 hours


_____There is a question mark by the repast as it can be hosted by a variety of people.

_____It is advisable that if you are planning the funeral you allow  someone else to handle the repast. 

_____ETE 3+ hours


Total Approximate Time to Prepare 35+ hours

Do not let the number scare you, if you have help, or are in an area where the businesses that you are using are close together, the time may be less.