Funeral ceremony: types, planning and costs


A funeral ceremony, sometimes called a memorial service or celebration of life, is a beautiful way to acknowledge, celebrate, and honor the life of a loved one who has passed away. A funeral can bring comfort and peace to grieving people and brings them together to share the pain of loss and the joy of having known someone well.

There are many different ways to commemorate a life, and each of them can be tailored specifically to the honored individual, as well as their family. If a loved one has passed away, you may have questions as to what type of service to perform. You may want to understand the traditional funeral ceremony. Or, you may want to plan your own service in advance to ease the burden on your loved ones and make sure it reflects your unique life.

Types of Funeral


It is characterized by not being widely used in countries with a Catholic religion. As there is no homily, it is a very brief act, in which one of the closest relatives or one of his best friends says a few words about the deceased. It has a marked practical nature, and it is a simple farewell without too many rituals.


The most used by the Christian community. The coffin is carried inside the temple by friends and family. If they do not want to or cannot carry it, it will be the funeral directors who will carry the coffin inside the church. The coffin is placed at the foot of the altar with the feet facing the altar. If you are a military officer or a professional in uniform, you can put your cap, sword or any other belongings of this type on top of the coffin, which in certain cases is covered by the flag of the nation or another type of ensign.

What To Do When A Loved One Dies

When a loved one dies, the process of gathering to planning services and paperwork can be overwhelming. What to do first? Who should you call? Our list can help you with the decisions that need to be made before and after the funeral ceremony.

Before the funeral

Seek help from friends and family

One of the most important things to do when a loved one dies is to seek help . One should not be alone during these difficult times. You should find someone to help you in this process. You may have to make the first calls to family and friends, but then you can have these people call others. You don’t have to carry the burden alone when a loved one dies.

Friends and family can help you with the deceased’s belongings, such as caring for pets you have. If you did not live with the person who passed away, seek help taking care of your home (watering plants, picking up valuables, throwing away food, picking up mail, etc.)

These things to do when a family member dies may seem unimportant, but if someone doesn’t take care of them they can become a problem later on.

Fulfill your last wishes

Last wishes can be documented in various ways. Most of the time, they are filed separately from the deceased’s will or trust.

If you are not sure what the wishes of the deceased were, check with other family members or close friends. The deceased’s last wishes may include matters such as whether they are organ donors, whether they want to be cremated or buried, and other things like what music they want to be played at their funeral.

Set a budget for funeral ceremony

Setting a budget for when a loved one dies is one of the best ways to control the high cost of a funeral. This may seem difficult during the time of grief, but no one – especially the person who has passed away – would want you to believe that bigger and more expensive is better.

A coffin alone can be worth thousands of dollars. This does not include items such as flowers, the obituary, transportation or headstone.

It is important to know what to do when a loved one passes away. The first thing to do is set a budget before contacting any funeral home. Not all funeral homes will work for your well-being. For example, most funeral homes only display the most expensive caskets. But less expensive ones are available most of the time. They can even use caskets purchased from independent distributors. Shopping outside of the funeral home can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Choose a funeral home

If you’ve already chosen a funeral home, you already know what to do when a family member dies – call to let them know that your loved one has passed away. They can help you make an appointment to make the necessary arrangements. If you don’t have a funeral home in mind, ask a friend or family member for any recommendations. If you attend church, your priest or pastor can give you some suggestions.

When a loved one dies, it is important that you take time to research your options when choosing a funeral home. Costs will vary from the funeral home to funeral home depending on the services provided. Funeral homes can give you pricing information over the phone, making your research easier.

Gather all important documents

When a loved one dies, you will have to send copies of various documents to different people in the following weeks to make final arrangements. These documents include:

Safe or Depository Information

This may include birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, military discharge documents, a will, property deeds, vehicle titles, financial or retirement account statements, tax returns, other legal documents and insurance policies. If you don’t know if one is in stock, contact the deceased’s bank.

Death certificate

This document is the most used when a loved one dies. Be sure to make copies and keep them in a safe place. In the days that follow, you will need them when contacting creditors, banks, government agencies, and insurance companies.


If you don’t know if it exists, ask other family members. If your loved one had an attorney, he or she will be able to inform you of any important documents.

Any life insurance policy

Contact the insurance company as soon as possible to start the claim process when a loved one dies. Depending on the provider, it may take several weeks for you to receive the policy’s death benefit. You may need to fill out additional paperwork that allows them to sort the deceased’s medical records.

Military Service Record

This is important if you want the military component to the funeral ceremony. Military Funeral Honors are a free benefit when a loved one veteran passes away (except in the case of a dishonorable discharge). This may include an honor guard, the folding and presentation of the American flag, and the blowing of the trumpet.

The service record is important for the surviving spouse to receive any benefits. Depending on the circumstances in which the veteran dies, benefits may include a pension, insurance, home loans or housing assistance, health care, employment services, and more.

Plan the funeral ceremony

Decide the arrangements

Making arrangements at the funeral home is one of the most difficult things when a loved one passes away if you do not know their final wishes. Some of the main decisions you will make include:

  • If dead is buried or cremated.
  • If there is going to be a wake or only visits
  • How the funeral rites will be conducted

In addition, you will arrange for flowers, transportation, music, and if a reception will be held after the funeral. In either case, having a close family member or friend help you make decisions when a loved one dies can make the process much easier.

Write the obituary

Obituaries include basic things about the life of the deceased and are usually written by a family member or close friend. The obituary can be handed out at the ceremony, published in the newspaper, or posted online.

After the funeral ceremony

Some important things to do when a family member dies after the funeral include:

  • Cancel (or transfer to your name or estate) any credit card, gym membership, bank accounts, and cell phone accounts.
  • Stop any type of delivery such as newspaper, home food services, and nurse visits
  • Go to the post office to forward or stop the mail.
  • Collect the full amount of the special payment from the federal government. Generally, the full amount is paid to the surviving spouse (or any children if there is no surviving spouse)
  • If you are the spouse of the deceased, you can apply for any eligible benefits such as pension benefits, company benefits, and any government benefits.
  • Start planning how the deceased’s property will be handled

Learn More: What is a repast after a funeral?

The next steps

Losing a loved one is overwhelming, particularly when it is sudden. There are literally hundreds of actions to do when a family member dies, all in a short period of time.

Families are often unprepared to handle property and the funeral when a loved one passes away. More importantly, they are not prepared to cover the costs of the funeral.

Funeral costs have continued to rise steadily in the past decade. Without proper guidance, families can overspend hundreds or thousands of dollars when a loved one dies, driven by their emotions.