Funeral Planning Checklist to Cover All the Bases

Updated April 6, 2022
two people planning a funeral with a checklist

Organizing and orchestrating a funeral requires a variety of time-sensitive tasks and extensive knowledge of the deceased. If you're in charge of planning by yourself or with a small group of people, a funeral checklist of duties helps keep matters in order and on track. Below you will find a free printable funeral planning checklist for families that encompasses the entire process, along with a separate checklist to use if you're in charge of planning a funeral reception.

Printable Funeral Planning and Organizing Checklist

When you plan a funeral, you have a lot of information to remember and share with friends and family. Funeral plans include everything from burial permits to what the departed wears. Keep all the important information in one place with a free funeral planning checklist that you can download and save or print. From documentation to burial details and funeral information, this organizational list covers every aspect of planning a funeral from the time of death to the deceased's final resting place.

How to Download the Funeral Planning Template

To download the free printable funeral planning checklist, just click the image below, then print it or save it to your computer. If you encounter any problems, use this guide to Adobe printables.

How to Use the Funeral Planning Checklist

The funeral planning template above is designed to help you stay organized throughout the process of planning a funeral. Even if you hire a professional planner or use services provided by a funeral director, using a document like this will help you keep track of what to ask during consultations and provide a way to keep up with what you have done and what you still need to do. Key features include:

  • There are three sections (documentation, burial details, and funeral details) that group duties into each aspect of funeral planning.
  • There is an open box next to every task so you can easily check items off when complete, such as when you have submitted or received key forms.
  • Every line has a blank space you can use to write the completion date and initials of the person who completed the task.
  • There is also space to write names, addresses, and contact information of important people in the additional blank lines.
  • Keep the checklist in a folder where you can store all important funeral-related documents, forms, guides, and copies.

Note: If you are planning with a group of people, keep one folder in a common area and have individuals initial the checklist next to tasks they complete. If you run into any trouble or questions, you will know which person is most likely to have the information you need.

Funeral Reception Planning Checklist

If you'll be hosting a reception after a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life, a separate planning checklist for that event is helpful. No matter what type of funeral reception you're planning, the editable checklist below can help you keep up with everything from who has volunteered to help with the reception to what menu items you will serve to guests after the funeral. With separate sections for location, menu, and decoration planning, all the bases are covered for you to create a supportive atmosphere for friends and family.

Steps to Plan a Funeral

While the checklists above help you see what needs to be done when you are planning a funeral or reception, it doesn't tell you how to complete those tasks. Work in the following order to ensure you have everything you need to efficiently plan and host a funeral. The average time between a death and a funeral is anywhere from one to five days after a person dies, but unique circumstances can delay a funeral for weeks or even months. Make sure you understand funeral etiquette from the deceased's belief system, and as you complete each step, check it off on your checklist.

  1. Notify friends and family members of the death.
  2. Choose a burial or cremation method for your loved one.
  3. Talk to the funeral home and cemetery you'll be using about what's included in their services.
  4. Order death certificates via the funeral home or cremation provider when finalizing arrangements.
  5. Make a funeral budget that includes how much money you have to spend, and a list of funeral costs.
  6. Set a date and time for the funeral or memorial service.
  7. Enlist the help of friends and family members in choosing the funeral or memorial service details and planning the reception.
  8. Decide if the funeral or memorial service will be held at the funeral home, a church, or another location.
  9. Make arrangements for a pastor or someone else to lead the service.
  10. Choose funeral readings and ask people to read.
  11. Ask someone who was close to the person who died to deliver the eulogy.
  12. Choose funeral music and arrange for recorded or live music.
  13. Create funeral programs to give out to guests at the service.
  14. Create an obituary using a free obituary template.
  15. Establish an online memorial for the deceased individual.
  16. Choose what you'll wear to the service.
  17. Host and attend the funeral or memorial service.
  18. Host and attend the funeral reception.
  19. Thank those who volunteered to help with planning.
  20. Send thank-you notes for funeral flowers.

Funeral Planning Made Easy

After the death of a loved one or close friend, people often experience a range of emotions that can inhibit rational or linear thinking. This can make it even more stressful than usual to be responsible for planning an event, but funeral planning has to be done. Using a funeral planning checklist can help you keep up with important tasks and stay organized by recording key information in one place so that nothing gets overlooked or lost in the shuffle. It'll be easier for you to take care of key funeral planning tasks while navigating your grief when you use these tools to help you stay on track.

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Funeral Planning Checklist to Cover All the Bases