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Funeral Planning - Topic Overview

Funerals and memorial services allow the grieving family and friends time to reminisce about the life of their loved one. A funeral or memorial service can be a time not only for grieving but also for healing and celebrating life.

A funeral or memorial service also helps family and friends face the reality of their loved one's death. It helps them begin the process of accepting and adjusting to the loss.

Planning a funeral

Communicating preferences with family members is important, whether you are planning your own funeral or a loved one's.

Think about the choices you want for yourself. Things to consider include the following:

  • Do you prefer burial to cremation?
  • If you choose burial, do you wish to have a viewing with an open casket, or do you prefer a closed casket and no viewing?
  • What special requirements, if any, does your religion require?
  • Do you want flowers at your funeral or memorial service, or do you prefer that donations be made to a favorite charity?
  • What music do you want at the service?
  • Who do you want to speak at the service?

Funeral costs

Funeral expenses vary greatly, depending on the area and on the types of services selected. You may avoid unnecessary costs by discussing your wishes with your family. You may want to schedule a meeting with family members and a funeral planner to go over details. This could help your family save money and time and can help reduce their stress after your death.

Funeral home burial charges usually include:

  • Transportation of the deceased person to the funeral home and to the cemetery.
  • Preparation of the body (embalming, cosmetology, hairstyling, dressing).
  • Viewing at the funeral home.
  • Services at the funeral home, graveside, or church.
  • Limousine service for transporting family to the cemetery.
  • Casket.
  • Acknowledgment cards.
  • Professional services.

In addition to the funeral home costs, the cemetery usually charges for the liner (vault) to prevent the ground from settling, opening and closing the grave, and grave markers or monuments.

Cremation or donating your body to science is an alternative to burial and generally is less expensive.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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