Making Funeral Arrangements

When it comes to arranging a funeral, there are many things to consider and having an understanding before you must deal with the shock of death and the overwhelming feeling that is grief, might make the inevitable slightly more bearable.

How to make funeral arrangements

First you need to understand how you are going to pay for a funeral. Is there a funeral policy in place and how much is the deceased insured for? Are you going to pay for this cash or are you collecting money from family and friends? Or lastly are you expected to take a loan to pay for the funeral? Once you understand how you are going to get the money and how much you have to spend you can start with making the funeral arrangements with a funeral parlour.

Funeral arrangements checklist

You can divide your funeral arrangements to do list into 3 sections, below is a list of what happens in each of these sections, namely Documents, Burial homes responsibilities, Your personal touches:

1. Documents – You

Below are some of the documents that you will need to get together for both your insurance company and funeral parlour director:

  • Copy of deceased’s Identity Document (ID)
  • Copy of next of kin’s ID and/or beneficiary/ies ID
  • Funeral Policy documents (If there is one)
  • Marriage certificate (If there is an insurance policy in place, this will be required by the insurer).
  • Picture of the deceased (for funeral program).

2. Burial home

These are some of the formalities usually handled by the funeral director at the funeral parlour you have selected for the deceased:

  • Getting the death notice from the medical staff (this is required before they can get the death certificate)
  • Registering the death with Home Affairs and the collection of the death certificate
  • Supplying original and certified copies of certificates and documents for the estate
  • Publishing death notices in the press (Optional)
  • Provide a selection of caskets to choose from (Budget dependent)
  • Dressing the body for viewing / burial / cremation (You need to provide the clothes you would like the deceased to be dressed in)
  • Bookings at the cemetery or crematorium, as well as funeral arrangements (You’ll need to help with the latter and is budget dependent, you should also look at burial vs cremation )
  • Local transportation of deceased
  • Embalming of the body, if required, for repatriation
  • Repatriation of remains, if required, across borders

Requirements for the service and wake:

This section will require both you and the assistance of the funeral director and will be decided upon by both last requests from the deceased, if any and the budget that is left of your money. You can also consider doing some of these things yourself or through family or friends (DIY), as it should work out cheaper than working through the burial home:

  • Design and printing of funeral programs (DIY option)
  • Booking of venue – this is you would like the wake or service somewhere other than the funeral home ground)
  • Catering choices (snacks and tea / alcohol) (DIY option, Time of day you have the service will help making choices)
  • Candles and flower arrangements (DIY & Optional)
  • Music/ musicians (You can provide music to the funeral home or they will have a selection, if you want musicians or a choir, this should be decided on by budget)
  • Is a sound system / video equipment set up required? (DIY & Optional if you have put a slideshow together or if you have an additional requirement for this)
  • Petals to sprinkle on the grave (DIY & Optional)
  • Doves, release of helium balloons, bubbles (Optional, symbolising the release of your loved one)
  • Display of personal items and memorabilia belonging to the deceased (Optional and adds a personal touch and/or might be a request from the deceased)

These are just some of the items that you will need to consider if you are responsible for making funeral arrangements, this will usually take a week or more to arrange. The big driving factor on getting started will be getting everything ready for the funeral insurance company, so that you can make a valid claim on the funeral policy and pay for the burial service.