Did you know that in the 48 hours immediately following a loved one’s death, the deceased’s family could have to make up to 70 decisions? It can be an overwhelming situation, to say the least. In addition to dealing with the grief and stress of losing someone you love, you now have many important decisions to make in a limited amount of time.
The situation doesn’t have to be stressful though. Many find that going through the process can actually help you cope with loss and relieve your grief. In order for that to happen though, you need to know what to expect beforehand. It is our hope that by breaking down the arrangement process, your family can be prepared and make things a little simpler.
What to Expect When You Call
For most families, the first thing they do after learning of a loved one’s passing is to call the funeral home. Because a death has occurred, the process begins right away with the funeral director asking some questions to begin making arrangements. After the phone call has ended, they will coordinate with staff to go and remove the deceased and transfer them to the funeral home.
One of the first things you will be asked by the funeral director is if the deceased has made pre-arrangements. If so, then we will schedule a time to meet with you and immediately mobilize staff to pick up the remains. If no prearrangements have been made, they will need to gather some information about the deceased.
Some of the initial questions you will be asked include:
> The deceased’s name, date of birth, and date of death
> Have they prepared a will that outlines their wishes for caring for their remains?
> Is the deceased an organ donor?
> Do you need a legal pronouncement of death?
> The location to pick up the remains
Once these initial questions have been asked, the funeral director will arrange a time for you to come into our offices and complete the arrangements.
Preparing for the Arrangement Meeting
When you arrive for the arrangement meeting, the funeral home’s staff will greet you and show you to the arrangement office. During this meeting, they will discuss the different funeral packages they offer, help you select different merchandise (caskets, urns, vaults, flowers, etc.), provide a breakdown of the costs, and complete the necessary paperwork.
Before you meet with the funeral director your family might want to appoint a decision maker. If the whole family will be involved, it’s important to have a designated decision maker who will listen to everyone’s input and make the final decisions. This responsibility typically goes to the executor or the next of kin.
The next step is to establish a budget of what you can afford. Your family should take some time to discuss how much you are willing to spend on funeral costs. Having a budget doesn’t mean you need to spend everything, but it helps when selecting packages and funeral merchandise.
During the arrangement meeting, the funeral director will discuss the different kinds of packages they offer and what’s included with each. Before the meeting, your family should start to think about the kind of service you’re interested in. Are you looking for a traditional funeral service? A cremation service followed by a celebration of life? Perhaps a graveside service? Knowing this beforehand can help make the decision process easier during the meeting.
Lastly, after you have decided upon a package and merchandise, the funeral director will provide you with a cost breakdown. Funeral homes are legally obligated to provide a detailed price list so that consumers know where their money is going. When meeting with your funeral director, don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications on anything you’re unsure about. They’re there to help.
The Benefits of Planning Ahead
One way to make the arrangement process easier for your family is by taking the time to plan ahead. In many ways, preplanning your funeral follows a very similar format to planning a funeral when in immediate need. The major difference being you aren’t rushed by a small window of time.
The first benefit of a prearranged funeral is that it ensures that your final wishes will be followed when you pass away. You can have peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones will honor your legacy the way you want them to. The second benefit of funeral prearrangement is that it relieves your loved ones of the emotional and financial burdens of funeral planning. Instead of rushing to make arrangements, your loved ones can instead focus their energy and attention on celebrating your life and saying goodbye.
Funeral preplanning is really one of the most selfless things you can do for your family. When your time finally comes, a prearranged funeral is one final gift you can leave your loved ones. By taking the initiative to make arrangements now, you are continuing to look out for your loved ones even after your gone. To learn more about the process, please visit the Funeral Preplanning section of our website.