How to Carry Out Prearranged Funeral Plans for the Deceased

When a loved one passes, there are upwards of 125 decisions to make in a small timeframe.

Fortunately, some individuals choose to preplan and/or prepay funeral plans in advance to save their family from sudden financial burdens and stressful decisions during an already emotional time. 

A prearranged funeral plan generally specifies:

  • The provider the deceased has selected to arrange services with.
  • Their preferred method of disposition (burial or cremation).
  • Service preferences (funeral or memorial).

It may also include the purchase of a burial vault, casket, headstone or urn, as well as personalization options.

In the event a loved one passes and has prearranged services with a funeral home, we outline three steps to ensure their final wishes are met.

1. Contact the pre-selected funeral home about the death of your love one.

To properly carry out your loved one’s prearranged funeral plan, you’ll want to contact the funeral home they chose to arrange services with prior to passing. Once notified, a funeral director will meet with you and your family to discuss your loved one’s final wishes.

If you’re unsure what preplanning entails, these are some questions you may want to ask about your loved one’s plan:

  • Method of Disposition: Did my loved one choose burial or cremation?
  • Service: Which service arrangements (funeral, memorial or visitation) did my loved one preplan? Is the service public or private?
  • Payment Plan: What’s my loved one’s payment plan? Is the contract paid in full? If not, what expenses remain? Will insurance cover any additional charges?
  • Personalization: What personalization options did my loved one request to incorporate in the service?

By asking these questions, you can get a better understanding of how your loved one wanted to be remembered.


2. Review the guaranteed and non-guaranteed payments of your loved one’s plan.

Some individuals elect to not only preplan their funeral, but prepay it as well. If your loved one chose to prepay services, make sure you have a clear understanding of the guaranteed and non-guaranteed payments.

A funeral director can detail whether or not your loved one chose to prepay for some or all of the expenses involved. If you have questions about pricing, ask to see a current general price list. A price list briefly details the items and services the funeral home offers, and the cost of each one. 

If interested in purchasing additional items—outside of the original scope—talk to your loved one’s funeral director. A funeral home with a certified Life Celebarnt on staff gives families the opportunity to choose from a variety of service and personalization options, including:

  • Bereavement and sympathy gifts
  • Display of cherished belongings
  • Literature, cards and stationary
  • Memorial candles
  • Music
  • Unique requests

By exploring your options with a certified Life Celebrant, you can rest assured knowing the selected provider will help you conduct a meaningful and memorable end-of-life celebration.

3. Execute the service according to your loved one’s prearranged plan.

While preplanning is a caring and loving act, prearrangements serve as guidelines for the deceased’s family and funeral director to carry out. The funeral home will also work with you and your family to incorporate personal touches that honor the life and legacy of the deceased that may not have been outlined in your loved one’s plan. This may include the addition of a photo collage presentation or multimedia tribute, as well as flower arrangements to enrich the service.

If you don’t feel comfortable and confident in a funeral home’s ability to carry out your loved one’s final wishes, you can transfer their contract to another funeral home. 

Under Ohio law, all prearranged plans are 100% transferrable at any time. The initial prearrangement agreement is final, however, it’s important to note that under certain conditions, you may not be refunded for a cost difference.

Preplan Now to Avoid Sudden Emotional and Financial Burden

Knowing there are many decisions to make after the death of a loved one, you too can lift the burden from your family by preplanning. If you’re interested in preplanning final arrangements, we encourage you to request a free preplanning guide or you can preplan online. Our guide explains what preplanning is, and offers insight on the financial benefits of arranging ahead of time.


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