Your Funeral Planning Checklist

Planning a funeral is difficult. On top of the emotional toll of saying goodbye to a loved one, there are a litany of logistical details that have to be managed. This process can be even more difficult if the departed has not left many instructions on the sort of services desired. For this reason, it can be helpful to make decisions about your own funeral during your end-of-life care planning. Below, you will find two checklists: one for your own ceremony and the other for a ceremony commemorating a friend or family member that has passed away and not left details.

Checklist for Your Own Ceremony

Which, if any, of these types of services would I like to have? 

  • A funeral at a church or funeral home.
  • A funeral at a gravesite.
  • A memorial service at an outdoor site.
  • A memorial service at my own home or the home of a relative.

Which, if any, of these other events would I like to have?

  • A wake.
  • A viewing.
  • A visitation.
  • A reception.
  • Particular religious events.

Would I prefer to be buried or cremated?

  • If buried, what sort of casket would I like?
  • If cremated, what sort of urn would I like?

Is there a particular location that I would like my services to be held at? If that location is unavailable for any reason, what is the next best option?

Who would I like to officiate my memorial? If that person is unavailable for any reason, what is the next best option?

Who would I like to be my pallbearers?

Who do I want to deliver eulogies on my behalf? Are there any religious passages or poems I would like recited?

Are there any charitable donations that I would like people to make on my behalf? Should these be given in lieu of flowers?

Which family members should be notified immediately in the event of my passing? How is best to reach them?

Are there any organizations that I want notified of my passing?

Checklist for the Ceremony of a Loved One
In some instances, somebody will pass suddenly or without the ability to fully communicate their wishes. In these situations, it falls upon a close friend or family member to handle the details. Here are some logistics to note:

If the passing has occurred outside of a hospital or hospice, immediately notify the authorities.

Once the authorities have been notified, inform family and friends. If you feel comfortable divulging the information on social media, do so at this time. 

Collect any relevant information for the creation of a death certificate and obituary. This information includes:

  • Name.
  • Social security number.
  • Date of birth.
  • Marital status.
  • Date of death.
  • Remaining family.

Contact the deceased’s insurance company to determine any relevant payouts. Have the policy number on hand, along with the death certificate, of which you should request multiple copies.

Locate the executor of the will, as well as the document itself. Gather any family or friends necessary and perform a reading of the will.

Determine what will happen with the affairs of the person who has passed on. This includes:

  • Contacting the landlord or mortgage issuer.
  • Checking in on any open bank accounts.
  • Cancelling any open credit cards.
  • Calling utility companies to inform them that service is no longer required.

Plan the funeral. Using your best judgment, as well as any information your loved one has left, go through the checklist above. If you are unsure of their preferences, talk to other friends and family members to come to a consensus about what they would have wanted. During this time, contact the cemetery or crematory for information regarding burial or cremation.

Gather photos, stories, and other memorabilia for display.

Reach out to caterers or other food options for after the ceremony.

Help coordinate travel arrangements for people who are coming from far away to pay their respects, including any housing that they might require.

The more prepared you are, the more easily you will be able to navigate the funeral planning process. For information or for further guidance at managing this difficult time, please contact us today.


Funeral planning is never easy.


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.