Checklists: Preparing the Burial of a Loved One

If a family choses a burial for the final resting of the body of the deceased, many options are available by licensed care providers. Most of the items can be handled individually, but most are packaged together by either funeral home or cemeteries. Often funeral homes work together with cemeteries to provide convenience for the grieving family. While preparing for a burial can seem overwhelming, a systematic approach for organizing the decisions can be helpful.

This Checklist on “Preparing the Burial of a Loved One” has a corresponding Essential under the same title. The Essential will give you assistance on how to fill out the Checklist. Together, they will guide you through situations that often occur during a time of loss.


Choosing a Cemetery

  • Where should the cemetery be located?
  • Should the cemetery be close to the current home?
  • Should the cemetery be close to the hometown?
  • Is there a cemetery where other family members are buried?
  • Should cemetery plots be purchased for other family members?
  • What type of cemetery should be chosen?
  • Should the cemetery be a public cemetery?
  • Should the cemetery be a religious cemetery?
  • Should the cemetery be a district or municipal cemetery?
  • Should the cemetery be a national or veterans’ cemetery?
  • Should a green cemetery or a home burial be considered?
  • Are there cemetery rules or requirements that will affect the decision?
  • Is there a type of headstone that will be required?
  • Is access to the cemetery limited?
  • Can flowers and other memorial gifts be used and displayed?
  • What is included in the cost of the cemetery plot?
  • What is included in the purchase of the “right of interment?”
  • What are the fees for the opening and closing of the plot?
  • Is a burial vault included in the price?
  • Is a grave liner included in the price?
  • Is the maintenance fee a one-time or annual fee?
  • Is there a headstone installation fee?

Choosing the Services of a Funeral Home

  • What services will be provided by the funeral home’s professional staff?
  • Will transportation of the body to the funeral home be provided?
  • What services are included in the care and preparation of the body of the deceased?
  • Will embalming be required?
  • What are the choices and prices of the casket?
  • Does the price include an outer burial container?
  • Does the funeral home prepare obituaries for newspapers?
  • Does the funeral home provide an online obituary?
  • Are other death notifications made by the funeral home?
  • Is there an allowance made for flowers for the casket?
  • Is a guestbook included in the price?
  • What stationery is provided by the funeral home?
  • Is food for the family during the visitation provided?
  • Is food for a reception for the family after the funeral provided?
  • Will a visitation period be included?
  • Will the visitation period be limited to one day?
  • Will space be allowed for photos and mementos?
  • Will a multi-media presentation of photographs be produced?
  • Will the funeral home allow for the service to be held at a religious institution?
  • Will the transportation of the body to another site be included?
  • Will the transportation of the body to the cemetery be included?
  • Does the funeral home work with any cemetery?
  • Will a gravesite service be included?