Pre-Planning Checklist

Funeral Pre-Planning Checklist

The following checklist will help you create your personalized plan.


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We have created a pre-planning checklist for your funeral that makes it easy to remember all of the little things. This list will help you feel more secure knowing what steps need to be taken when someone has passed away.

What is a pre-planning funeral?

Pre-paid funeral plans can be a good way to spare your loved ones the stress and burden of making decisions while going through grief.

A pre-planned service will typically include an urn, casket or coffin; embalming if desired (optional); visitation with other family members before burial time; wake services at home for immediate survivors followed by transportation to cemetery/memorial site where it’s said goodbye one last time.


Should I preplan my own funeral?

Pre-planning your own burial is a great way to relieve loved ones of the burden. It also means that you can say goodbye in a final and personal manner, instead of leaving it up to them to decide how they want people to remember you.


How do I prepare for a funeral checklist?

It's important to know what preparations need to be made before it's too late, and how you can help your family during this difficult time. This funeral pre-planning checklist will guide you through everything from choosing a funeral home, arranging a casket or urn, and picking out service details such as flowers or music.

Ways to Plan Ahead: Pre-planning Checklist



  • Gather personal information for your obituary.
  • Choose a charity to direct donations to, if desired.
  • Choose a funeral home.
  • Make note of any special instructions you desire for your services and final disposition.

Funeral Service

  • Choose burial or cremation.
  • Select a casket or cremation container.
  • Choose the location and type of service.
  • Decide whether you’d like to have a viewing or visitation.
  • Choose floral arrangements.
  • Select which photographs and memorabilia you’d like to display.
  • Consider any customs, traditions, or religious rites that are important to you and your family.
  • Choose the clothing you’d like to be dressed in.
  • Select music and hymns, if desired.
  • Select a style for your stationery and memorial register book.
  • Arrange transportation for your physical remains and your family.
  • Brainstorm any additional ways you’d like to personalize the services or pay tribute to your accomplishments, hobbies, personality, and life story.


  • Choose a clergy member or officiator to preside over the service.
  • Select any musicians whose talents you’d like to employ.
  • Select pallbearers.
  • Choose friends or family members to perform the eulogy, read scripture, or prepare a speech.


  • Choose a cemetery.
  • Select a burial or cremation plot, or a mausoleum, if appropriate.
  • Decide between above- and below-ground burial.
  • Select a memorial or grave marker and inscription.

Planning funeral arrangements can be a difficult and emotional process. Here are funeral pre-planning tips to help prepare funeral services for someone who has passed away.

Tips for funeral pre-planning funeral services:

When making funeral plans, include a list of people who will speak at the funeral service or pay tribute to the deceased. It is important to remember that funeral services are usually attended by friends and family members so it is helpful to let them know in advance what they should expect.

Arrange seats around tables with specific duties and responsibilities listed on cards above each place setting. For example, you could assign the responsibility of passing out programs or responding if someone begins to cry during the funeral, etc. Always have extra seating available in case additional guests arrive. You can never be sure how many people may attend a funeral service.

1. Pick a location for the service.

Ask family and friends to attend a meeting or form an assembly line to assemble the funeral program booklets. You can create funeral programs by using funeral program templates online that you can download for free. Print funeral programs on card stock and let your friends and family follow the assembly instructions as they place funeral programs into funeral program booklets. Allow a few extra funeral programs in case any are lost or damaged during assembly. Once funeral programs are completed, place funeral programs into funeral program booklets.

2. Choose an officiant.

When you think about funeral pre-planning, the last thing that probably comes to mind is choosing an officiant. But this step is crucial so it gets its own place on our funeral pre-planning checklist. Choosing a funeral home will help find funeral services in Vancouver that are certified with online reviews, but they do not handle official paperwork for the funeral service itself, such as marriage licenses and funeral orders of service.

The officiant does all of those things and more! So before you look into funeral homes, make sure you have chosen a licensed funeral director or pastor who can lead the funeral prayer for your loved one. Look for someone who works closely with families and knows your family values. A good funeral director or pastor should be available to visit with you in the months before this tragic event and should be able to give you peace of mind as funeral services in Erie, PA consider funeral pre-planning.

3. Decide on music and flowers.

Flowers are always a great way to show your love and support. If you know the person's favorite flower, this would be a good time to get it as well.

4. Draft obituary.

Do not worry about it being perfect at first - just draft it and make more edits before publishing. Check out our funeral obituary writing tips.

5. Prepare for phone calls after the funeral.

Keep track of who you need to call and organize phone trees if necessary. Create a funeral guest list spreadsheet with email addresses or cell numbers so that guests can be invited without needing an address book or Google Calendar account.

The funeral home will also provide funeral services in Vancouver details such as funeral costs for a cremation or burial service, transportation arrangements for the deceased, funeral merchandise, organist and choir members fees, flowers, obituary notices, and more.

6. Determine the length of the service.

Include appropriate details, funeral music, and funeral poems in your funeral program. Funeral programs can be purchased at funeral homes or created by the family on their own. These are very useful tools because they provide important information about the funeral service such as the funeral home address, date, time, and location of visitation. They also contain a history of the life of the deceased person, funeral services details (arrangements), and funeral ceremony details (tributes).

7. Select readings, poems, scripture, or other elements that will be included in your ceremony.

Poems, scripture, etc., can be selected as well or funeral pre-planners can assist in choosing a selection if needed.

8. Make funeral arrangements with a funeral home.

With these details once you have been notified of the death/need to make funeral plans, including setting an appointment for viewing, funeral service, and/or burial. Complete the funeral pre-planning checklist with the funeral director. If you have already completed an advanced funeral agreement in the past, give the funeral home a copy of this form to put on file.

9. Plan how to get there.

Carpool with friends or family members who are attending or arrange transportation through a funeral home's services; also think about parking if needed

10. Review information from any memorial society membership.

You may have read about Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, LLP, which offer resources like guides on writing obituaries and planning funerals as well as educational programs designed to help families understand their options when it comes to pre-planning funerals including financial assistance programs that can provide discounts on costs associated with burial plots in some cases; these organizations also offer grief support groups where people can find comfort after someone close has died by talking with others who have been through similar circumstances.

Other pre-planning funeral resources include funeral planning websites that offer funeral checklists, funeral home price comparisons charts, and funeral cost calculators that can help people understand what their final expenses will be and how much money they may need to save for these costs; a funeral pre-planning checklist might also be available on these types of websites so that families can see if any steps are being neglected.

Information You'll Need:

Vital Statistics

  • Your father’s name
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Your level of education
  • Your social security number


  • Fraternal organizations
  • Service organizations
  • Union memberships
  • Any special recognitions you have

If you’re a veteran, you’ll also need to include:

  • Military service
  • Branch rank
  • Date of enlistment
  • Date of discharge
  • Name(s) of war/conflict(s) toured
  • Serial number


There’s no need to make all the decisions right away. For personalized assistance in creating your plan, contact one of our experts to schedule a one-on-one meeting.



Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, LLP - Pine Avenue Branch
Phone: (814) 825-2500
845 E 38th St, Erie, PA 16504
Austin J. Brugger - Supervisor


Partners: Leo J. Brugger, III, Garett J. Brugger, Austin J. Brugger, and Carl R. Brugger


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