Planning a Funeral
At Caerphilly Funeral Services we understand that losing a family member or friend is one of the most difficult things you will go through in your life. Not only do you have to deal with the extreme emotions and coming to terms with losing someone you love, you will also have the daunting task of planning a funeral.
We have put together some hints and tips on the things you should think about at the difficult time of Planning a Funeral.
1) Meet with close family or friends to find out if they had an official or non-official funeral plan and any insurance policies in place to support the cost of the funeral. Find out if they had talked about their funeral wishes including; location, type of service, songs, hymns and poems. If there has been no funeral plan been left by your departed then there are two questions that need answering and agreeing:
- Will the body be buried or cremated?
- What type of funeral service will you be having for your loved one?
Types of Services:
A funeral is when you have a service before the body is buried or cremated
A memorial service is when you have a service after the body has been buried or cremated
A graveside service is just like a funeral only it takes place on the gravesite
If your loved one had made a funeral plan then you can work directly with the particular Funeral Directors who will have a copy.
2) If no funeral plans have been left then the 2nd most important thing you should do is choose the Funeral Director you want to work with.
Your first meeting with a Funeral Director is your opportunity to ask questions and learn about the services they offer. They should be flexible and offer you the opportunity for the meeting to take place at the funeral home, in the comfort of your home or over the telephone.
It is often really beneficial for you to take some time before you meet with them to write your questions down as it can be a very emotional and daunting time talking about your loved one and their funeral so soon after their passing.
Consider taking someone with for support and talk to them before you go about the questions you have and what you want to achieve from the meeting. Take a pen and paper with you or ask the person that is going with you to take notes, as you will often find that you will not always remember the finer points you discussed with them.
A good Funeral Director should be friendly, compassionate and well informed, they should listen attentively and answer any questions you have.
Do they offer affordable prices and services? Ask how their prices compare to other Funeral Services in the area and ask what packages they offer as this may reduce the overall costs. Check their costs with other Funeral Services or ask someone else to do this for you before you make your decision. Ask them for a written break down of the services included in their fees as these can vary from one Funeral Director to another.
It is vital that you feel comfortable with the Funeral Director you choose and at no point should you feel pressured into making any arrangements that you feel uncomfortable with. If you are put in this position at any time, let them know you will discuss it with your family and come back to them with a decision.
Don’t rush into making a decision there and then as you should take your time. It is always good to talk to friends and family after to help you make this important decision.
3) When Planning a Funeral and you have decided on your funeral director you can start to talk to them about how your loved one would like to be remembered. Remember a funeral, memorial or cremation service can be personalised to reflect their wishes, their life and should bring comfort to family and friends. No service is the same and you can really use anything you want now to remember them; videos, music, readings. A funeral service really is an important part of the grieving process and gives people the opportunity to express their grief, share memories and celebrate the life of a loved one. Throughout the arrangement process, it is really important to take into account the opinions and wishes of other family members as this stressful time can bring on many types of emotions and arguments which is not something you should be dealing with at this time.
4) A good Funeral Director will help you decide on funeral cars and who you want to go to the service in them. The service plan and arrangements, flowers, collections, pallbearers, the order of service. The arrangements after the service if you are having a wake for family and friends to meet after the service.
5) As part of Planning a Funeral, you will need to choose how your deceased will be prepared (i.e. Open Casket). Most funeral homes will require that the body is embalmed if there will be a viewing before the funeral or an open casket during the funeral. Some cultures and religions feel that being able to see the person who died offers a sense of closure, while some prohibit embalming and therefore effectively prohibit open-casket ceremonies.
6) You must also decide what clothing you want them to be buried or cremated in, along with other belongings you want to have buried with the person. Keep in mind that any objects you’d like to save as keepsakes, such as jewellery or clothing, should be removed from the body prior to cremation or burial.
7) You will need to choose your cremation or burial products. If you are planning a burial then you will need a casket and a burial vault or liner. If you are planning a cremation then you will need a cremation casket and an urn for the ashes.
8) If you are planning a burial then you will need to decide where the burial will take place and you will need to pay for a cemetery plot or space in a mausoleum. The Funeral Director you work with know the cemeteries in the area and can help you find a space. If you are part of a church, synagogue or another religious group then they will also be able to help you with this process.
9) You will need to inform family and friends of your loved one’s death. Access their address book, social media accounts and emails if you can, so you can see who the people were in their life that need to be notified. Identify and get in contact with a point person from each part of their social life and ask them to contact the people that should be notified and invited to the funeral.
You should also consider if you wish to place a death notice in a newspaper or to a website with the death notification and funeral arrangements.
10) Consider who you would like to speak or read at the funeral. Do you want to write a eulogy and read it or will you ask someone else to do this for you? Be prepared for others to ask to speak at the funeral that you may not have thought of, remember it is entirely acceptable to decline these offers if it isn’t what you or your loved one would have wanted.
11) A really nice thing to do is to have a guestbook at the funeral so family and friends can leave a message in about your loved one. You may not have managed to speak to them directly and it is always something that you will have and can read through at those difficult times when you are grieving. Place the guestbook at the entrance to the service or at the wake afterwards. Ask someone to take responsibility for it and encourage attendees to write in it so this is something you don’t have to think or worry about doing.
12) When planning a funeral, ask family and friends to send you photos they have of your loved one that could be used at the funeral as a montage and for you to keep after the funeral.
Other important things to remember:
If your loved one was living in a nursing home, assisted facility or hospice then keep in mind that you will need to move personal property relatively quickly. Keep in touch with the facility and they will be able to give you the timescales they need you to work to.
Be aware that as soon as a bank is notified of a death then the deceased’s accounts will be frozen until processed from probate. If you have been using their cash to pay for any funerals costs then you may want to withdraw money from their bank account whilst you still can. Keep track and receipts of any spend as this may be asked for from other family members.
When planning a funeral, try and take some time for YOU so you have time to grieve during this stressful and emotional time. Think about what you will wear to the funeral, do you need to have anything dry cleaned or do you want to buy something new.
Caerphilly Funeral Services is a family run, compassionate and caring Funeral Directors who have many years of experience in supporting families to arrange dignified, personal and memorable funerals for their loved ones. We can support you to arrange traditional religious, non-religious or civil funerals and we will be there for you when you need us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information on the services we offer or if you have any questions you need answering give us a call on 029 2086 2100.
Kian works for Caerphilly Funeral Services as a marketing specialist. He takes great pride in creating quality content about Funeral Services.