Planning a Funeral: 3 Common Questions

by Susan Evans

Planning a funeral is a stressful time. Here are three typical questions that may arise, with advice from and

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1. How do I determine the viewing/calling hours?

Traditional funerals typically include a one- or two-day viewing,  a service and then a burial in the ground, vault, mausoleum or niche. You can also have a graveside ceremony.

  • Notify close relatives of the death, especially those who may have to make travel or work arrangements, to learn when they will be able to attend.
  • Discuss the scheduling choices and available dates for a religious service.
  • Check with the cemetery and funeral home, to ensure that the dates and times are available.
  • Be sure to allow time for the family to have a meal and take a break in between the viewing hours.
  • The obituary, if the funeral home is handling placing it in the newspaper.

2. What do I need to provide to the funeral home?

  • The clothing for viewing and burial (including underclothing and socks but no shoes). If the deceased served in the military, a uniform may be appropriate.
  • The personal possessions you want the deceased to be wearing for the viewing, such as a wedding ring or other jewelry.
  • The personal possessions you want buried with the deceased. (Items that you want visible for the viewing but not buried with the deceased can be removed prior to the closing of the casket.)
  • A current picture of the deceased to ensure as natural and familiar appearance as possible.

3. What other decisions need to be made regarding the funeral?

  • What items you want on display, such as photographs, memorabilia or personal items that were meaningful to the deceased and the family.
  • Who will serve as pallbearers: Usually six in number who can be either relatives or close friends. If you do not choose to have pallbearers, the casket can be wheeled.
  • The choice of picture and content for the memorial or acknowledgment cards. (These can be purchased from the funeral home, the internet or card shops.)
  • If possible, the music to be played at the funeral home, especially if there the deceased had preferences.
  • Any specifics regarding the religious service: music, readings, participants.
  • The details regarding the after-service meal: where it will be held, who will provide the food.

Funeral Home Information

  • Funeral home _______________________________
  • Address _____________________________________
  • Day and date _______________________________
  • Time _______________________________________


  • Name _____________________________________
    Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________ E-mail________________
  • Name _____________________________________
  • Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________ E-mail ________________
  • Name _____________________________________
  • Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________ E-mail________________
  • Name _____________________________________
  • Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________ E-mail________________
  • Name _____________________________________
  • Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________ E-mail________________
  • Name _____________________________________
  • Relation to deceased __________________________
  • Phone __________________E-mail ________________


The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real-life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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