After a Death in the US
The US Federal Trade Commission publishes comprehensive handbooks in PDF format available to download at no charge on the US Gov site. These booklets also contain links and lists of associations and organizations that provide funeral planning and services, counselling, and many other facilities that may be needed at the time of loss, and links to information you will need tohandle the legal side. Also check the Resources page on this site.
Coping and Planning
The AARP (formerly the American Association for Retired Persons) provides a checklist and various source documents and advice on its pages.
Funeral Planning Checklist
And the ins and outs of Funeral Etiquette are also very well explained by a number of funeral homes. Rochester Funeral Homes. For many of us, attending a funeral of a colleague or older family friend may be our first introduction to loss—sometimes, we may worry about doing or saying something that isn't helpful or are not sure of the protocol or what's expected.
Funerals and Planning
There are many options to consider when planning, or pre-planning. The religion or type of service you prefer will help to determine procedures and many of the items that you will need to consider will be natural or obvious choices.
You may prefer an officiant or humanist service, or need to meet religious requirements on the time period before burial, for example. You may also—if it is not pre-determined by the religion—to decide on burial or cremation. A funeral director—familiar with the religious affiliation—is an excellent first port of call. They are experienced in guiding through the legalities and know the considerations that need to be taken into account for the service of your choice and will be able to advise you. Funeral homes/directors often have brochures and information available that show you step-by-step what needs to be done to meet the requirements of the authorities, to plan and organize the service you wish for, and all the elements that you may wish to incorporate into the funeral from condolence guest books and choice of music to newspaper announcement. You may wish to hold a private funeral and then a public memorial service—this usually means that the body is not present and is often held at a later time. Whichever route you choose, a funeral home is often the best place to start.
Explore these links for more information.
Diffeerent Religious Practices: An excellent US site outlines practices across various religions, what typically occurs or is expected, and etiquette and protocol concerns that you may be unsure of. Please see My Florist for a comprehensive and detailed article. Also view the footer area of the web page, which contains other useful information on etiquette and conventions in different situations.
Elements of a Funeral: Rochester Funeral Homes provides excellent guidance with a Funeral Planning Checklist. Here are a smattering of the many areas that need to be examined when a death occurs. Please click on the link for futher information.
- Advise the authorities
- Advise family,friends, colleagues, place of work
- Choose a funeral director familiar with your religious beliefs/or as applicable
- The funeral director will provide information on steps (official) that you may need to take and through all the steps of planning the ceremony/burial
- Should the body be embalmed
- Are you considering burial or cremation
- Will a plot be needed, an urn, a casket—there may be implications if you choose cremation
- Will there be a need for vault, mausoleum.
- What will you do with the ashes—Will they be scattered, buried, held?
- Costs and implications for services
- Will there be public viewing of the body/visitation—open or closed casket
- Will cremation occur before the visitation, at the service, or at a later time
- Consider clothes, jewelry, cosmetic work necessary for the deceased—or if the latter is required
- Visitation and wakes—do you wish to have this?
- Temple, Mosque, Funeral Home, Church
- Graveside ceremony
- Public figure/memorial/recognition from officials or groups to be incorporated
- Speakers, Tributes, Eulogy
- Obituary—write it, publish it
- Charitable Donataions
- Photos and videos for the visitation/the program/cards
- Will pall bearers be needed/chosen from friends and family or funeral home
- Music for visitation and service
- Order of program
- Transportation—to the cemetary/of friends and family
- Gravestones and markers/receptacles
- Accommodation of relatives/friends
- Legalities/business matters/insurance
Guidebooks on funerals from the Federal Trade Commission
The US Federal Trade Commission publishes comprehensive guidebooks/PDFs available to download at no charge on the US Gov site. These booklets also contain links and lists of associations and organizations that provide funeral planning and services, counselling, and many other facilities that may be needed at the time of loss, and links to information you will need to handle the legal side.
Finding a Funeral Home in the US
Click here to find a funeral home in your area/state and other useful information.
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