Funeral Planning Checklist: How to Plan a Loved One's Funeral

Monday, November 16, 2020

Very few experiences in life shake us to our cores. Whether you're here helping a loved one plan or planning for someone who has already passed, this process is universally challenging. It is a difficult situation that can quickly become overwhelming.

The most effective way to ensure a peaceful final say is to talk openly about it. This funeral planning checklist will help to bridge this difficult conversation into constructive intentions. 

Get Comfortable

Sit at a big table where you can spread out. Open a favorite bottle of wine or brew a pot of relaxing tea, and have tissues at the ready. It may surprise you how much you'll learn about your loved one during this session. 

It is of the utmost importance that you listen without judgment. Know there is nothing wrong with taking a break, going for a walk, or polishing off all the candy during this. 

Perhaps the most important question: What happens to the physical body? 


The most traditional option is to return our bodies back to the earth. The two main ways to rest in the earth are in a casket or a natural green burial. 

Caskets take on many materials, sizes, and colors that can reflect your loved one's personality. 

Where does the body ultimately rest? A favorite churchyard? A cemetery where they have other family members?

Perhaps they already have a plot picked out. 


Where the body returns entirely to dust in a cleansing fire. From this fire comes a plethora of options to consider. Urns range from traditional to personalized to biodegradable.

If you intend for the ashes to be kept on display, then perhaps more than one urn is necessary for multiple family members. You can sprinkle ashes, plant them with a new tree, decorate jewelry with, and much more.

Memorial Service

Holding a service is a ritual that can offer comfort to living loved ones. 

Who hosts the service? Is it a preacher, friend, or the funeral director? 

Services can include tributes such as slide shows, collages, favorite recorded music, or even live music, readings, and eulogies. 

Who will make speeches, readings, or play music? 

You will only need one photo for a prayer card, and your loved ones' favorite song, poem, or bible verse. Collect all you and your loved one's favorite photos for display in a collage or slideshow. Discover the best ways to creatively honor your loved one

Getting Organized

There are many important documents that you and your loved one will need to locate. Examples include: will (if one exists), military discharge papers, insurance policies (health, life, property), automobile title, property deeds, marriage license, business agreements (such as LLC or partnership agreements), and bills (utilities, services, subscriptions).

What would your loved one like to do with all of their beautiful things? Perhaps donate them to a particular charity, be sold to help pay for costs or specific items might need to be designated for other family members. How can you start to pre-plan now?

Funeral Planning Checklist

While there can be much more, and even much less involved in the process, this funeral planning checklist will initiate the difficult conversation you must have. 

Schumacher and Benner have been offering Pennsylvanians help with the most comprehensive and caring service. When you and your loved one are ready, we are right here for you.

Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home and Crematory is the only private on-site crematory in Pottstown, PA. That is why we can truly say, your loved one never leaves our care. Our funeral directors are crematory technicians certified by the Cremation Association of North America, which provides advanced certifications to help insure the highest standards.  

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