Make transitioning easier with our funeral planning checklist

Planning a funeral can be difficult - Here's a Checklist to Help Things Out.

Planning a funeral can be difficult. Planning one under the stress of waiting until a loved one has died is a burden no one wants to bear.

There is an easier way to make transitioning easier using our funeral planning checklist. Here’s what you can plan in advance so that your family doesn’t have to react in a panic. Let them know what you’re preferences are and take care of the details—show them that you care enough to lighten their load when you pass.

Funeral planning checklist

General preparations

  • Write your own obituary (link to Last Writes class on our website) or list the necessary information your loved ones should put into your obituary. It doesn’t have to be a boring list of dates or career performance. Include hobbies, what you are well known for in the family and community, and what you treasured most during your life.
  • Choose where donations from well-wishers should be sent. Provide the name of a charity you would like to see supported or a non-profit organization that is close to your heart.
  • Make sure your will is up to date and notarized.
  • Prepare a Living Will.
  • Choose a funeral home.
  • Put together a binder containing your personal history. Include maiden name, social security number, phone numbers, addresses, birth date, birth place, nationality and citizenship, education, employment highlights, marital status, spouse’s name, parent’s names, birth dates/places, address, branch of military service, serial number, discharge rank/date/location, memberships of clubs, church, unions, etc., bank information including safety deposit box key location, passport, birth certificate, investment information, last will and testament, and pre-paid cremation and funeral paperwork.

Funeral home services

  • Decide now if you prefer to be cremated or buried.
  • Purchase a plot in a cemetery and pre-pay for the funeral expenses.
  • Select a casket or cremation container.
  • Choose a location and type of service you prefer (open or closed casket; memorial service; life celebration service; funeral, etc.)
  • Choose family viewing or visitation suggestions for those who come to pay their respects to your life.
  • Choose floral arrangements.
  • Choose items to be displayed (military, career, portrait, etc.)
  • Choose your religious service options.
  • Select music you’d like played at your funeral or memorial service.
  • Select poems, Scripture, or other literature to be read that is meaningful to you.
  • Select transportation for yourself and family.
  • Select pall bearers and others who would be honored to serve on the day of your wake, burial, or memorial. This may include hosting the family at home or in another location; who you’d like to write and read the eulogy, etc.

The Importance of Planning Ahead

You don’t have to leave your end of life preparations to anyone else. Instead of dreading the conversation or realizing too late that you have not planned ahead, choose instead to spend thoughtful time reflecting on a life well-lived and celebrating the legacy that you leave behind. I hope our funeral planning checklist will ease that burden for today and tomorrow. Death may be a serious subject, but a light-hearted approach to planning ahead will make the transition for you—and for your family—a much more pleasant one, focused on enjoying the best memories of you.