Putting Your Wishes in Writing

The first step to planning ahead is putting your wishes in writing. Your plan should clearly state where important documents such as life insurance policies, birth certificates, marriage license, military records, and credit obligations can be found. Your file should also contain important biographical information for the obituary notice. All this information saves your family time and added stress. Having all of this information in one place is of tremendous assistance to the family, and it is a gift of love only you can give. Your plan will also include your preferences for funeral services--whether you want a traditional or non-traditional service. You can include your preference for flowers, music, readings, even down to the type of casket you'd like. Contact a local funeral home to help you complete your written plan and keep it on file at the funeral home in case of emergency.

Preplanning is a gift of love only you can give to your family.

Planning for funeral services in advance allows us to carefully consider the kind of legacy we want to leave behind for our friends and family. Many people today are planning all or part of their funeral services ahead of time because without preplanning, many questions are left unanswered for our loved ones.

Talk to Someone About Preneed

Decide Whether Prefunding is Right for You

Prefunding funeral arrangements can be a smart financial decision, and it can be of great assistance to your loved ones and can give great peace of mind to your spouse and children. Death never comes at the most opportune time and often creates a large unexpected expense for family members. Added to the intense grief of loss, anxiety about financial concerns can be devastating to a family. By planning ahead for final expenses, you can help to ease the financial burden that falls on loved ones at the time of death. Depending on your family's situation, you should decide whether prefunding is right for you.


Funeral Checklist

The following is a practical checklist of most of the items, services, and expenses that a family will have pay for or decide on during a funeral arrangement conference. Having these practical matters decided ahead of time truly helps family members during a difficult time:

Funeral Service

Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff



Use of Facilities and Equipment

Transfer of Remains to Funeral Home

Limousine/Automobiles/Flower Van

Casket/Cremation Container and Urn

Outer Burial Container/Burial Urn Vault

Refrigeration/Cremation Fees


Use of Chapel/Transfer to Church or Other Location

Stationery Package, Memorial DVD, Videotaping

Third-Party Expenses


Outside Facility Rental


Death Certificates

Police Escort

Newspaper Notices and Obituary

Clergy, Musician, Vocalist Honorariums


State or Cremation Permits

Cemetery/Crematory Costs

Burial Plot/Mausoleum/Urn Niche

Opening and Closing of Grave

Cemetery/Crematory Fees


Request a Free Funeral Cost Estimate

Locate a Funeral Home

You talk about many things with your loved ones: from day-to-day details to big events. Sharing stories with those who matter most isn’t just important today; it will be especially significant when it’s time to honor and commemorate your lives. Memorialization at the end of life is more than it used to be. It can reflect a person’s life story and be transformative, healing and comforting. Meaningful memorialization starts when loved ones talk about what matters most: memories made, lessons learned and how they hope to be remembered.