Planning a funeral is an immense responsibility; not only are there a great many practical details to take care of, funeral planners are tasked with handling their own feelings of bereavement while also honouring the legacy of their loved one. Having a checklist for planning a funeral close at hand during the entirety of the planning process is therefore recommended; by keeping things organized from the outset, you can ensure a successful service and create more time in which to reflect and come to terms with your loss.
1. Contact a funeral director to begin planning the service. You will need the assistance of a funeral director to complete the death certificate of the deceased and transport his or her body. If your loved one was in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice, the body will likely need to be removed within a few hours after death.
2. Set a time-frame for the funeral planning process. Generally, it’s advised that funeral planners avoid rushing the process and leave up to a week to sort out all the details of the funeral service. However, certain religions (notably Islam and Judaism) require that the deceased be buried promptly (i.e., 24 hours after death). If your loved one belonged to a faith which requires quick burial, have someone else help you work out the details of the service and review your checklist for planning a funeral in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly.GET A QUOTE
3. Decide on a budget for the funeral and ascertain how the funeral will be funded. Funerals vary widely in cost depending on a variety of factors (namely, whether the deceased is to be buried or cremated and the region in which you live), so establishing a budget and figuring out potential sources of funding is essential to minimizing stress. If the deceased was a long-time contributor to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), he or she should be eligible for a one-time death benefit payment (paid to his or her estate) of up to $2,500. This should be sufficient to cover cremation and memorial services in most Canadian cities, but a burial and full funeral is likely to cost more than this amount; as such, if you plan for the latter you may need to look into additional sources of funding, such as having members of the deceased’s family contribute to a collective funeral fund.
4. Set a date and time for the funeral gathering. Generally, it’s best to choose a weekend or weekday evening for the funeral so that it does not conflict with the mourners’ working hours.
5. Decide where to hold the funeral. A religious institution (such as a church, mosque, or synagogue) is the most popular choice for funeral hosting, but if the deceased was strongly opposed to organized religion, you may wish to look into a different memorial venue, such as a crematoria, cemetery, or park.
6. Contact a religious official or non-religious funeral celebrant to officiate the ceremony. Once again, this should be decided based on the beliefs of the deceased. The officiator will welcome those who attend the service, introduce speakers, and coordinate activities such as prayer sessions, singing, and moments of silence.
7. Plan the events of the service. Once the venue, date, and time have been decided upon, you should designate speakers for the funeral, choose which music will be played, and decide on a guest list. You should also create and print programs or memorial notices.
8. Arrange associated services. Purchase flowers, food, and refreshments for the funeral. You should also hire a professional photographer (or, if you are on a budget, enlist the aid a talented friend or family member with the requisite equipment) to photograph and videotape the service.
9. Take care of any final touches for the funeral. As a last step, you should add a personal touch to the service. How you do this is up to you, but generally people choose to arrange and display photographs and other memorabilia associated with the deceased, reflecting his or her life and achievements. Likewise, make sure that you have a guestbook prepared for signatures and comments.GET A QUOTE
Once you have completed the nine steps above, you should have everything in place to create a memorable, touching service that fully honours the life of your loved one. With a mind free of stress and worry, you will be able to engage with those near and dear to not only say goodbye, but also celebrate the gift of your loved one’s life.