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Organizing Arrangements

Speak with family and friends about possible dates for the service and the style of service. Remember to honor the decedent’s wishes if they were expressed. Items to consider:

  • Officiant and style of service
  • Burial or Cremation
  • Religious or non-religious service
  • Location
  • Eulogy
  • Possible participation of guests
  • Wake or Visitation
  • Presence of remains
  • Open or closed casket
  • Transportation
  • Pictures and Program
  • Pallbearers
  • Guest book
  • Music
  • Flowers
  • Obituary

If applicable, speak to the pastor, priest, reverend or other officiant who will conduct the service.

Contact a local funeral home to arrange burial or cremation. Make necessary decisions such as casket or urn choice and the choice of a headstone. Also talk about what services if any, the funeral home will need to provide at the funeral or memorial.

Finalize details of the service. Contact anyone whose participation you’ve requested and confirm orders for flowers, etc.

Summarize plans with friends, family, and the funeral home so everyone is aware of what is going on and what needs to be done. Make sure everyone knows where they need to be and at what time.

Delegate someone to receive gifts, cards, and flowers. Instruct them to keep a record of who sent/gave the item so that thank you notes can be written later.


  • Funeral home
  • Friends and family
  • Pastor/Minister/Priest/Officiant
  • People who will participate in the service

The contents of this checklist are intended to provide helpful suggestions to a family member or other survivor who has assumed the duties of concluding the affairs of a loved one/decedent. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. It is not intended to provide legal or financial advice nor to be relied on in lieu of such services.  If you have specific questions relating to an estate you are handling, you may find it helpful to consult with a probate attorney or financial professional.