Steps Involved in the Funeral and Final Disposition Planning Process

By: Ian Elliott
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Funeral planning can be a stressful and unexpected time. It is not something that we go through everyday, thus making it hard to know how to go about the process and be prepared.   The more prepared you are for the funeral, there will be less stress placed on yourself.   There may already be a lot of chaos and stress around funerals, with a number of unanswered questions and uneasiness when it comes to planning your loved one’s funeral.   That’s why it is important to get the help of a funeral director, along with family or a close friend to help you through this planning process.   It may not seem like you have much time, but it is vital to take time to consider all your options.


First Steps of Contact

It can be a very difficult and shocking time when you first find out about the death of a loved one.   But it is important that if you are the one planning the funeral that the first thing you do is contact other immediate family members of the loved one.   Also once the immediate family and friends have been notified, contact their employer, and other clubs or organizations that they belonged to.   After you have notified them, it is important to have a proper budget for the service and to follow the cultural and religious needs for your loved one.


Consult the Will

After all of the necessary people have been contacted, contact your lawyer and access the will of the deceased.  If the will has been kept in a safety deposit box the bank will require to see the death certificate and will in order for you to access the safety box.  Based on the will you may gain valuable information as to the wishes of your loved one.  Pre-planned funeral information can make the funeral arrangement process easier as many of the decisions you would be making, would have already been made by your loved one.


Deciding on Burial or Cremation

This point coincides with consulting the will because in most cases the means of final disposition may be mentioned in the will.   It is important to note, in British Columbia, that the executor must follow the directions left in the will when it comes to instructions about the funeral and if they want to be buried or cremated.  This is also true if a pre-paid funeral arrangement was arranged.


Decide on a Budget

It is important to figure out your budget.  Once you have sat down and figured out what you can spend,  you will be able to bring that budget with you to the funeral home and your funeral director will be able to help you plan the service within that budget.


Find the Right Funeral Home

This is a decision that one sometimes rushes into.  They pick the first one that comes to mind or the one closest to them, however this is one of the most important decisions. Take time to do a bit of research, and find the right funeral home that fits within your values and budget.  By talking with the funeral director you will be able to get a sense of whether or not you wish to use their services.


Planning the Service

There are many aspects that go into the actual service. Below is a list of different items to remember when planning the service:

  • Obituary
  • Burial or cremation
  • Casket
  • Open or closed casket
  • Urn when cremation is chosen
  • Location of service and burial
  • Public viewing
  • Caterers
  • Flowers
  • Transportation
  • Music
  • Clothing for the deceased
  • Charitable donations


Day of the Service

The day of the service may be filled with anxiety and emotions. Your funeral director will have everything planned out for you, from your arrangement conference.  Remember your funeral director is there to be with you and guide you through the service.  You will arrive at the service location and will be met by your funeral director.   If you have arranged a traditional funeral with a casket present you may have a viewing prior to the service beginning.  After that is completed the service will begin.


Final Disposition

Following the service you may go to the cemetery or you may decide to have a reception prior to going to the cemetery for burial.  At the cemetery a committal service will be held at the burial site.  This is generally a service of about 15 – 20 minutes where prayers are read and the casket may be lowered into the grave or in the case of cremation the urn is placed into a niche wall or lowered into the grave.  This is a time when you say your final goodbyes.


If you have any further questions on how to plan a funeral, please contact our funeral directors at Arbutus Funeral Service.


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