Checklist for Planning A Funeral

The Complete Checklist for planning a funeral

In this article ” Checklist for Planning A Funeral” you will learn what you need to know about planning for a funeral and the costs associated with it. 

One of the first things you will need to think about is your budget.  In the United States, the average funeral costs $8,000-$12,000 acording to the National Funeral Directors Association.  This is for a very average funeral, most cost more. I can tell you from personal experience in my family that not doing anything more special the bill came out to be around $15,000 when one of my family members passed. It is my upmost suggestion that you plan on the higher end and not the minimum because prices are only going up and not down. 

It’s a good idea to start with the basics and decide if you want to add anything or take away anything.  Here are the basics to most funerals:

Service – You will need a location and someone to handle the service.  The more basic, the cheaper but you can expect this to range from $1,500 to $2,000.

Casket or Urn – Caskets prices can range drastically.  You may be able to find one at a very affordable price, but on average you can expect to pay a little more than $2,000.

Embalmment – Sometimes this isn’t included and is offered as an extra cost from the funeral home.  Expect to pay from $400-$800 for embalming.

Burial Plot – Do your homework here. Not all cemeteries have the same prices, and in some areas, there can be a drastic difference.  The costs can range from $2,000 to $8,000 and up, again this depends on your location. One way to judge this is look at the houses in the area, if the prices of the houses are higher so will the plot be. It’s real estate just like if you buying a house. 

Headstone – Headstone can have a vast range of price.  If you only need a basic headstone that gets embedded into the ground, they usually cost between $400-$800 however, if you want a more massive headstone that stands tall those run considerably more and you can expect to pay in the thousands for one. 

Type of Service

Once you have the basics, you can decide what kind of service you’d like.  For many, this may depend on their religious beliefs.  Some of the more popular options are viewing and a funeral service.

Viewing – If you have a viewing which usually takes place the night before this will cost you extra but is worked into the total cost of the funeral home.  Most funeral homes offer this service as part of their packages.

Church – Then comes the funeral itself.  Will there be a church service to go along with the funeral?  If so you may have to pay a donation to the church for their services.

Transportation Costs – There will be transportation costs you will need to consider here.  The cost of getting the Hurst from the funeral home to the church. And then from the church to the cemetery.

Flowers – You may want to have flowers for the church or at the cemetery.  Flower prices can vary so much depending on what you need.  For example, if you take the price of the flowers for a casket they can range from $250-$750.

Note: Most people don’t think of the small charges as a big deal, but I can tell you that the small charges of $50 here to $200 here can accumulate very fast into the thousands. That is why I wrote this article “Checklist for Planning a Funeral”. 

Form of Payment

Now that you have an idea of how much your funeral will cost it’s time to figure out how you will pay for it.  If you have a life insurance policy that has enough benefit to cover these expanses, that would be the best case.  Most people choose to buy burial insurance which is also known as final expense insurance. This is specific insurance used for the funeral and burial costs so even if you have other Life Insurance that can be used for other obligations and not be used for Final Expenses.

Some people say to me “I have the cash in the bank, my family can use that”. That statement can put your family in a lot of trouble because they can’t get to your bank account for a while after you pass due to the process the bank has to go through when someone dies. Only people who are joint owners of an account can withdraw money. So unless you have your kids on your account, they can’t use that for a while.  

The safest bet is a affordable Final Expense policy, they will get that money fast so that they can pay all your bills, so once you determine the amount you will need you can now shop for a policy.  We are here to help you find the exact plan you need. If you live in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Sumter or Citrus County, then I am here to help you. 

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Document Your Plans

If you do plan out your funeral be sure to document everything.  You could do this formally with a lawyer, but many people write out their wishes and keep it in a safe place.  You should consult a lawyer and see what is best for your situation. If you need a free “Final Wishes Guide” which will document all of this for you, send me an email to

Who’s Speaking at the Service?

You will want to see who will want to speak at your funeral and create a list in advance at the services the church representative usually handles most of the speaking.  However, friends and family may be best to give some insights into your life.

Funeral Reception

After the services are done what will everyone do?  Usually, following most funerals, there is a reception either at someone’s house or at a local restaurant.  Receptions are good as people are still reflecting on your life and this gives them a non-formal setting to do this in.

In many cases, people will have some food catering, but it doesn’t need to be fancy.  You could order sandwiches from your local grocery store with some side dishes to accompany it.  Restaurants can be more expensive, but many times in these situations people will often pay their tabs.

Final Thoughts

Funerals can be a stressful and very emotional time for your family and friends.  If you can plan out and prearrange many of the events of the day this may be very helpful.  There is no set in stone rules so use this checklist as a guideline and do what suits you and your family best. And always know that I am here to help you if you need me. Since 2012 I have been helping people find the best plans to cover the costs associated with Final Expenses. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me directly @ 813-842-1421 or click below to schedule an stress free no-obligation appointment. Thank you 

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