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Start Planning a Memorial

I need to plan a funeral now

A loved one recently passed away and I need to plan services and write an obituary.

I need to prepare for the future

I want to give my loved ones everything they'll need in the event of my passing.

Checklist

Track the tasks that need to be done after the passing of a loved one.
Checklist items are personalized by your answers.

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Let People Know
Notify authorities

If your loved one died at home, you should tell the police in order to establish a time of death.

What to do if someone dies at home
What to do if someone dies at home
Tell family and close friends

Make a list of the closest relatives and friends who should be called right now – and enlist their help in spreading the word to others.

Four communication steps after a death
Four communication steps after a death
How to Let Others Know of a Death
How to Let Others Know of a Death
Make Arrangements
Select a funeral home

This is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make – and some providers may specialize in services that are important to you.

Funeral homes in your area
How to choose a funeral home
How to choose a funeral home
Plan memorial events

There are many different types of memorial services. Funerals are formal commemorations of the death; viewings and visitations are less-formal gatherings to offer condolences to the bereaved and memories of the departed. We explain the differences and help you figure out which is right for you.

The differences among funerals, visitations and graveside services
The differences among funerals, visitations and graveside services
Coordinate religious needs

If you want a religious service, you need to contact the house of worship as quickly as possible. For starters, did your loved one attend a specific church or belong to a certain faith?

Considerations for each of the major religions
Considerations for each of the major religions
Book venues and catering

You may wish to hold a memorial event somewhere other than a church, house of worship or funeral home. Post-funeral receptions often are held at a private home, or event hall; less-formal “celebrations of life” can be held almost anywhere.

The differences among funerals, visitations and graveside services
The differences among funerals, visitations and graveside services
A step-by-step guide for celebrations of life
A step-by-step guide for celebrations of life
Finalize Details
Write and publish an obituary

A written obituary - published online, in the local newspaper and shared on social media - is still the most effective way to spread the world of your loved one’s passing. It also serves as a lasting memorial and keepsake.

Writing a Memorable Obituary
Writing a Memorable Obituary
How to let others know of a death
How to let others know of a death
Purchase flowers and decorations

What would your loved one have wanted for flowers and other décor? Did they have a favorite color or flower? You can choose to personalize this aspect as much or as little as you’d like.

Set up memorial charity

Many mourners will graciously send flowers to the services. But would you prefer they do something else to remember your loved one? Is there a charity they’d want to support? If you do want flowers at the services, your funeral director can also help you find local places that accept flowers afterwards, such as nursing homes and churches.

Come Together
Organize transportation and housing for guests

Who arrives when? Where are they staying? Bringing everyone together can be daunting, so start a spreadsheet or shared online document keeping track of travel itineraries.

Take a moment to reflect

Mourning really begins after the services. Now that most of the planning is taken care of, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the person you loved – and how you are reacting to their passing. Be sure to reach out to those around you for support and know that you are not in this alone.

How to find the right support group for you
How to find the right support group for you