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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.


Mark complete the tasks that need to be done after the passing of a loved one.



Learn more about funeral costs, including what isn’t included in funeral homes’ prices, and compare different plan options.

Learn about funeral costs
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Complete questionnaire

You've completed the questionnaire, but sometimes things change. Feel free to edit your answers as needed; your checklist and plan will update accordingly. Or, if you prefer to start over, you can retake the entire questionnaire.

Notify authorities

If the death occured in a hospital or under hospice care, the staff there will notify authorities and you can check this off your list.

If your loved one died outside of a hospital or hospice care, a family member or friend will need to notify authorities. Just call 911. That allows for formal reporting of the death, issuing of the death certificate, and investigation when the circumstances are anything other than natural causes.

Here’s what to say, depending on if the passing was:

Natural and expected

The death occurred of natural causes like age or disease

What to say

“Hello I am calling to report a death. The deceased person’s name is <name>, and the death is from <cause>.”
Be prepared to give the address of the death, and whether your loved one had been sick. Gather any advance medical directives or “do not resuscitate” orders.

Natural and unexpected

The death was probably due to age or disease but was sudden

What to say

“Hello I am calling to report a death. The deceased person’s name is <name>, and the address is <where the death occurred>.”
Explain anything you may know about the deceased person's recent medical history, and have any advance medical directives available when medical personnel arrive.


The death was due to an acccident or suicide

What to say

“Hello I am calling to report a death. The deceased person’s name is <name>, and the address is <where the death occured>.”
Do not disturb the immediate surroundings. Be sure to stay on the line and take direction from police and medical personnel as they arrive.
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 people who should be called right now—and enlist their help in spreading the word to others. Start with closest relatives and friends, before anyone posts the news to social media. If your loved one had a Facebook account, you may look into having his or her profile turned into a living memorial.

Family & close friends

Your loved one's closest family and friends deserve personal phone calls as quickly as possible.

What to say

“This is <name>, <deceased’s> son/daughter/relationship. I’m so sorry to tell you that <deceased> passed away on <day>. We’re still working on the arrangements, but wanted to let you know as soon as possible.”
Have the hardest conversations first, as these calls will be the most draining. The good news is that this group can help you plan the funeral and spread the news.

Distant relatives and friends

This group can be notified by email or text message. Post on social media after this group has advance notice.

What to write

“I’m writing to let you know the sad news that <deceased> passed away. We’re sorry that we can’t call all of you personally, but wanted to let you know directly before we publish the obituary or post to social media.”
If you know when services will be held, feel free to mention that as well. If services are private, simply say the ceremony is for immediate family only.

Everyone else

Anyone other than family, close friends, and business partners can be notified using social media and an obituary.

What to post to social media

“We’re sad to report that <deceased> passed away on <day>. Services will be held on <day>, and you can read more at <obituary link>.”
Social media—along with digital and print obituaries—help to widely share the news of your loved one's passing. Posts should wait until you've informed family and friends, and until you have a sense of when services will be held.
How to Let Others Know of a Death
How to Let Others Know of a Death
Define the budget

Funerals are expensive and the pricing can be hard to understand. We can help you make sense of it all and show you how you can save money. Visit the Budget section to learn more about funeral pricing, including how hidden costs can drive the price up and the difference in costs between burial and cremation. Use our tips below to see how you can save money.

Set a budget

Setting a budget can help guide you through the process and avoid emotional overspending

What to do

  • Decide how much you can spend
  • Learn about hidden costs and fees
  • Don’t share your budget with the funeral home up front
  • Bring a trusted friend with you when making decisions

Save at the funeral home

Pricing for the same services can vary by thousands of dollars at funeral homes in the same area

How to save

  • Ask funeral homes for a copy of their General Price List (GPL)
  • Get detailed quotes from more than one funeral home
  • Be specific about the services you want
  • Watch out for packages that include items you don’t want or need

Save on services

The number of services you hold and when or where they take place will affect the bottom line

How to save

  • Hold services on the same day
  • Have services during business hours
  • Hold some or all services at a private home, religious space, or other venue
  • Opting for closed casket services can save on embalming and other prep

Supply your own goods

You don’t have to purchase necessary items (like a casket or urn) through the funeral home

How to save

  • Purchase the casket, urn, or other containers outside the funeral home
  • Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation
  • Supply your own flowers
  • Create your own memorial items or thank-you cards

Find assistance

You may be eligible for financial assistance from the government or other organizations

What to do

  • Learn about benefits for Veterans - including military funeral honors and memorial items (headstone, flag, etc.)
  • Find out if you’re eligible to receive a Veterans burial allowance
  • Ask your religious organization if they help with burial costs
  • Crowdfund to help with costs

Explore alternative options

Opting to not include formal services or using alternative options can be more economical

How to save

  • Opt for an environmentally-friendly green burial
  • Consider anatomical body donation, where the remains are either cremated or buried after the donation process
  • Avoid many of the costs of a traditional funeral by choosing direct cremation or immediate burial (with no services)
How can you remember your loved one inexpensively?
How can you remember your loved one inexpensively?
Make Arrangements
Select a funeral home

Choosing a funeral home is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. You can search for providers who specialize in services that are important to you, or click "See more funeral homes" to see all listings in your area.

Already working with a funeral home?
Search for your funeral home below, or enter it manually here.

  • Distance
Bundy-Law Funeral Home
93% Positive
120 N 11th St
Cambridge, OH 43725
Thorn-Black Funeral Homes, Inc.
100% Positive
139 S 9th St
Cambridge, OH 43725
Black-Epperson Funeral Home
84% Positive
231 Main St
Byesville, OH 43723
See More Funeral Homes
How to choose a funeral home
How to choose a funeral home
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.

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

Decide whether you want to have flowers at services. They offer vivid reminders of how many people cared for your loved one—but some people would prefer those resources be put towards something more permanent, such as charitable donations. Your funeral director can help you find a florist and produce printed programs—but remember that you may be able to save money by shopping for those purchases on your own.

Save money by comparison shopping
Save money by comparison shopping
Coming soon to Featherstitch: Order flowers directly
Soon you’ll be able to order flowers from the Featherstitch site—we’ll connect you with florists to make it easier to buy flowers to honor your loved one.
Organize transportation and housing for guests

Who’s staying where? If many people are coming from out of town to attend the memorial events, it’s useful to keep a list of where everyone is staying, who has rental cars (versus those who will need rides) and the like. A simple list or spreadsheet can work wonders.

Coming soon to Featherstitch: Book hotels directly
Soon you’ll be able to book hotels from the Featherstitch site—we’ll connect you with local hotels to make it easier to book online.
Take A Moment
Consider grief counseling

For many people, the myriad memorial arrangements can keep them from realizing the enormity of their loss until after the funeral. When all the events are done and the friends have returned home, take a moment to consider your feelings. Seek out support groups and other kinds of grief counseling.

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