How Can I Plan a Funeral?

Senior couple writing a will

After someone you love passes away, the last thing you want is additional stress caused by difficult funeral-related decisions.

To make a well-informed choice on where and how to lay your loved one to rest, you should be familiar with aspects such as funeral costs and the types of ceremonies and services available.

There are also burial alternatives that may meet your religious requirements and loved one's wishes better than a traditional burial service. You can still have a ceremony or funeral service even if you choose cremation.

It's natural to be overwhelmed with the planning of a family member's funeral. The Neptune Society wants to ensure you're well-informed on all of the steps involved so that you're able to focus on the most important aspect of the process: celebrating your loved one's life.

Here are a few things you should know as you begin making funeral preparations.

Compare Burial and Cremation Costs

Many people take advantage of the opportunity to secure a prepaid funeral plan to make sure their family members don't have to take on the responsibility of making all of the arrangements at the time of need. Neptune Society provides affordable prepaid cremation plans to take the anxiety and financial strain out of funeral planning.

If your loved ones planned ahead by choosing a prepaid funeral plan, it eases the funeral planning process at the time of need.

However, if you haven't been instructed by your loved one on how to lay him or her to rest and your religion doesn't dictate a certain type of ceremony, you may be wondering which type of service will be an appropriate celebration of life.

One of the factors you may want to consider is the cost of cremation compared to burials. For a burial service, the casket fee alone is usually slightly more than $2,000. However, if you want a casket made of expensive materials like copper, mahogany, or bronze, you may have to pay as much as $10,000.

In addition to the casket price, cemetery fees are generally around $2,000, which puts the average cost of a funeral at about $7,000 or more.

Cremation is becoming an increasing popular burial alternative. The most recent statistics show that in 2011, about 42 percent of Americans were cremated. This is double the number it was 15 years ago.

In addition to influence from religious beliefs, this increase is thought to be the result of lower costs, as cremations generally cost significantly less than a traditional burial.

Talk to your family members about this important decision to balance your budget with the wishes of your deceased loved one.

Select your Provider with Care

Federal law requires funeral homes and cremation services to give you price quotes over the phone and a printed, itemized "general price list" during face-to-face appointments.

If you do decide on a burial, remember that if you buy a coffin online or at a retailer, funeral homes are prohibited from denying you service or charging you a higher price because you bought the coffin elsewhere.

Choose from Different Types of Ceremonies

When people think of funeral services, they often fail to realize that there are a variety of options available to suit their specific needs. Depending on your loved one's personal preferences and cultural and religious traditions, you may want a public or private service.

There's also the option for a viewing or visitation. There are direct cremations, for example, that don't involve viewing or visitations, but often include a memorial service with or without the cremated remains, depending on your preferences.

You can either bury the ashes, keep them at home or scatter them in a special location.

Whatever you and your loved ones decide for end-of-life arrangements, it's important to communicate these plans early. Prearrangements for funeral services and cremation plans will relieve stress when the time of need arrives.

The Neptune Society is the nation's oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.

Everything You Need to Know About Preplanning Your Final Arrangements - guide cover

Download Everything You Need to Know To Find a Trustworthy Cremation Provider

With our guide, learn how to:

  • Gain Understanding Regarding Pricing for End-of-Life Services
  • Learn How to Look for “Red Flags” When Researching Providers
  • Understand What Questions to Ask a Potential Provider