How To Arrange A Funeral Service

Making funeral arrangements is a difficult but necessary task. Here are a few guidelines that can help when the time comes.

No one wants to plan a funeral, because none of us looks forward to losing a loved one or family member. But funerals are very common, almost a necessity really. Only the most poor or indigent persons fail to receive their last rites.

If you are in the position of planning a funeral, here are a few suggestions that may help.

1. Check out morticians ahead of time. Don't wait for a loved one to die before getting in touch with funeral services in your area. Contact local morticians before someone passes away; then you'll know what to do and who to call when the sad event occurs. Get in touch with several in the telephone book to compare the type of services that are available. Then check prices for the most suitable cost, depending on the type of life insurance that will be used.

2. Call the funeral home company at the time of death. Having selected a contractor before someone passes away, double-check prices and services before seeking a particular vendor's assistance. Make sure the same services you inquired about are still available, and that the price is about the same, given a margin for inflation. Try to talk to the same person that you contacted initially. If that person no longer works for the company, mention his or her name and the information you were given at the time of the initial contact.

3. Fill out a contract or provide a written description of the services you want. Putting your wishes in writing helps to ensure that everyone involved shares the same understanding. There can be no mistake with one party claiming, "But I thought you said blue, not brown." Be sure to get an estimated and itemized total cost to be sure the plan you've selected is affordable and fundable.

4. Double-check services at the preliminary viewing. When you return to the funeral home for the early viewing of the body before guests begin to arrive, go over the arrangements mentally and perhaps verbally to be sure that everything has been done per your instructions. Check the coffin color and design, the deceased's apparel, the background music, and the chair set-up, as well as plans for the funeral service at the scheduled time. Ask about transportation to the cemetery and afterward, as well as announcements and the guest registry.

5. Double-check the bill afterward. When the service is over and the body interred, go over the bill carefully to be sure nothing was left out or added. If you have questions, get in touch with the funeral director. Ultimately you should find that the plan was carried out as specified, including the deceased's embalming, hairstyle, and dress.

The death of a loved one is stressful and painful, but it must be dealt with promptly. Take time to make funeral arrangements ahead of time, at least in part, to avoid questions or complications later. Knowing what to do at the time of loss will help you ensure that things proceed normally in everyone's interests.

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