Funeral Planning

Planning a funeral during a time of grief can be overwhelming. We're here to help take the stress out of planning funeral services.

Whether you are planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one, here you will find valuable resources to get you through this tough time.
Recent Funeral Planning Articles

Personalizing A Loved One’s Funeral

November 8th, 2011

Planning a funeral for a loved one is a difficult time for anyone. A lot of work, time and effort goes into the planning process. Also, you want to make sure that it’s a special time of remembrance for your loved one. Have you thought about ways that you can personalize your loved one’s funeral?

Consider Their Unique Personality Traits

Funeral Wagon - Personalized Funeral TransportationWhen planning to personalize your loved ones funeral, think back to the fond memories you shared with them. Think about their stand-out qualities, and what other people saw in them. Also, consider their likes, hobbies, dislikes, achievements and passions.

Personalizing The Funeral Ceremony

Once you have thought about what that person meant to others and took into consideration their passions and likes, get together with other family members and come up with a creative way to incorporate these elements into the ceremony.

Personalize the visitation, eulogy, music, readings, procession, committal service, the gathering or reception. Each can be personalized in different and many ways. For the visitation, display photos, memorabilia, collections of their work or their achievements for a personalized effect. Choose music that is meaningful to that person, poetry and readings that describe that person’s life,
or even have the procession vehicle catered towards their hobbies or interest.

Ask people that were closest to that person to give readings, play music or be a pallbearer; however they feel they can contribute. A great way especially to personalize the ceremony is during the speech. This is the time that they can talk about all of their great qualities and passions.

More Tips For Personalizing A Loved One’s Funeral

FAQs: Funeral Planning

September 10th, 2011

Here at FSN Funeral Homes, we strive to find the best advise for the questions so commonly asked about funeral planning and the details that come along with it. Here is a list of the most frequent questions and their answers. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

FAQ : Funeral Planning

 Funeral QuestionsWhat do I need to know about funeral planning?

There are a few basics you should always keep in mind when planning a funeral.

  • Be informed and ask questions.
  • Go over all options available at several funeral homes, making sure the funeral home you chose is suitable for your personal needs and budget.
  • Request an itemized price list.
  • Make the arrangements for a personalized service to honor your loved one.

Who do I need to contact first when pre-planning a funeral?

  • When pre-planning a funeral you can call the funeral home directly and work with the funeral director there, or you can contact an Estate Planning attorney.

How much does an average funeral cost?

  • The average funeral in today’s time is somewhere between $6,000 – $8,000.  This estimated price includes, all services provided by the funeral home, casket/urn, burial and cemetery arrangements.

Continue reading “FAQs: Funeral Planning” »

Types of Funeral Service Providers

September 7th, 2011

Funeral service providers are not all created the same and do not always offer the same services you might be expecting. When planning a funeral, you don’t always have a lot of time to make arrangements – so, learning the ins and outs of funeral planning ahead of time can help for when the time is necessary.

Funeral Home OptionsThere are three categories of funeral providers to choose from.

  • Full Service Providers
  • Specialized Service Providers
  • Limited Service Providers

Full-Service Funeral Providers

Full service providers offer the most options and services when it comes to funeral planning. They can fulfill any service request at any time. The services available are:

  1. Facilities for people to gather in for visitations and ceremonies.
  2. Vehicles such as a hearse and limousines for funeral processions.
  3. A large range of caskets, urns and other funeral service merchandise.

Keep in mind – that when using Full Service funeral home they often don’t offer simplified services with the same attention to detail as they would for a more elaborate full service ceremony.

 Specialized Service Providers

Specialized service providers offer similar service options as the full service funeral homes do but on a more limited basis. The services are:

  1. Facilities for people to gather in for visitations. Typically they are smaller than the full-service providers buildings – and only have one or two rooms for services and ceremonies.
  2. Vehicles may or may not be provided, and hours of operation may be shorter.
  3. Small range of funeral merchandise, including caskets and urns. They are typically in a building similar to doctors office in appearance.

Limited Service Providers

Limited service providers usually arrange direct cremation and burials without ceremonies.

  1. The services they offer are usually limited when it comes to completion of documentation and transferring the deceased to the crematory or cemetery.
  2. Merchandise choice is very limited.

Make sure that the services and merchandise they offer are adequate for your situation. They are often very limited and precise when it comes to providing funeral services, however they are often the least expensive option.

Keep in mind…

  • When ‘shopping’ for a funeral home provider, take care to go over all the details before signing any contracts. You can use the Funeral Home Comparison Checklist to help you when planning a funeral, by comparing prices and services offered at the funeral homes in your area.

Once you have chosen the funeral home to coordinate and provide your services, you will sit down with a funeral director to start planning and arranging the funeral. The whole situation is a bit intimidating if you are not sure of what to expect and how to express your concerns. By educating yourself about funeral and cemetery terminology as well as the means needed for pre-planning a funeral ahead of time, you will feel more comfortable when making the arrangements.

Funeral Home Comparison Checklist

August 31st, 2011

Today, many families are not aware of their role in the funeral planning process. Once you have an idea of what you would like to take place at the service you are planning, you should sit down with a funeral director to go over the logistics.

Something you should know:

You are the one who determines the cost of the funeral services that will be held for you or your family members. The details of the services are guided and determined by your needs, and budget. But, not all funeral homes are created equal, they come in different sizes, styles and have different specialties. It is a wise idea to ‘shop’ around before deciding which funeral home to work with. Below is a checklist that will aid you in covering all the cost aspects associated with planning a funeral.

Funeral Home Comparison Checklist

Make copies of this checklist to compare the prices of services offered at funeral homes in your area.

Name of Funeral Home____________________________________________

Name of Crematory_______________________________________________

Name of Cemetery________________________________________________

Notes on Business Reputation_____________________________________


Continue reading “Funeral Home Comparison Checklist” »

Hispanic Funeral Traditions

July 20th, 2011

The funeral traditions of the Spanish-speaking cultures are similar, but have many differences and variations from each other. For the purpose of this article, we are generalizing the similarities of customs rooted in Hispanic cultures to give you a brief description of what to expect at a Hispanic Funeral.

Hispanic Funeral Traditions Are Primarily Catholic

Because of the how deeply-rooted Catholicism is in Hispanic heritages, even non-Catholics include Catholic traditions in their funerals.

The Hispanic culture accepts death as part of life. It is the end of the life in the flesh, and a beginning of the life in spirit. Catholic Hispanics celebrate one’s death, because the soul is going “home” once the body has died. The funeral process doesn’t begin after death, but before one passes.

  • Whenever the situation allows, the funeral process begins on the death-bed. A priest will give the dying person their Last Rites, which consist of confession (if possible), communion and pastoral blessing.
  • A family member will stay with the body of the deceased until the preparations begin for the funeral services.
  • A traditional Hispanic Funeral will consist of 3-4 days of services and vigils to honor and pray for the departed soul.
  • A Catholic Priest will lead the services for the funeral. Starting with the wake.

Continue reading “Hispanic Funeral Traditions” »

Dealing With the Violent Death of Someone You Love

July 12th, 2011

Losing someone in a sudden death is both frightening and unsettling.  Deep emotional stress and confusion surrounds the first few hours and days after a loss. Knowing what to do and being prepared can benefit you immensely during this troubled time.

First Things First

  • Notify Police
  • Officers may leave written information with details about the prosecutor, medical examiner, place of hospital for the deceased and a victims advocate.
  • A family member might be asked to identify the body of the deceased
  • Personal belongings of your loved one might be used as evidence for later in the prosecution. If you wish to claim any of the items, tell the officer leading the case.
  • A forensic autopsy might be required to gather evidence
  • After the identification and autopsy, the medical examiner will arrange transportation of the body to the funeral home the family has selected.

Incident Information Report includes the following:

  • Case number
  • Date and Time of incident
  • Name of officer investigating the incident along with the officer’s contact information
  • Name of the officer who will be contacting the family of the victim
  • Name of the coroner and their contact information
  • Location of the Deceased and contact information for the

If you feel the urge to ask, to get more information, or be more involved during the process of the investigation, don’t hesitate to ask. You are not alone, and you shouldn’t scared to ask the officers or departments of those who are working with your case.

In the mean time, you will need to contact a funeral home to make the arrangements for the service. A funeral director will work with the family to coordinate the service with the needs of the family. They will likely ask for the specifics from an autopsy, if one is performed, and whether or not an open or closed casket will be proper.
The funeral director will also be able to answer any questions you have about transportation of the body to and from the funeral home.

When someone dies as the result of a crime, the police as well as a coroner might be involved.  When the death turns into a criminal investigation, the proceedings for this can take some time. Working with your local law enforcement will help to keep you involved and informed during the investigation.

Dealing With An Unexpected Death

July 8th, 2011

When an unexpected death occurs, the family and loved ones are caught off guard. Not knowing what to do or where to turn can fuel the fire of grief and confusion. We have accumulated critical information for the families that are dealing with the passing of a loved one, to help you through the process.

An unexpected death brings uncertainty and often requires an autopsy to determine the cause of death. When an autopsy is preformed, it will usually take place on the same day or the day after.

Viewing the body of the deceased before an autopsy may be possible in certain circumstances, yet there are times when the family is not able to until after the autopsy has taken place for forensic purposes. If this is the case, the body will be released to the funeral home after the autopsy.

While this process can be frustrating, it is a necessary action that needs to take place in the event of an unexpected death. Take comfort in knowing that the funeral home and funeral director will work through this process with you to help heal the pain and sadness during this difficult time.

How to Handle an Automobile Casualty

July 6th, 2011

When a loved one dies, life suddenly becomes very confusing and frustrating. On top of the grief, emotions and sadness, you now are in the process of planning and arranging a funeral service. This time may be extremely overwhelming, and often times many issues might be overlooked because of the rush.

We are here to help. We have outlined a few topics that are very important when it comes to a sudden death by the way of  automobile accidents.

When a fatality has occurred in a car accident, an incident report is created by officials. It will contain very important information.

Some of the details included will be:

  • Case Number
  • Date and Time of Incident
  • Name of Information of the Investigating Officer
  • Officer notifying family members
  • Coroner’s Information
  • The location of the deceased
  • Police hold and location of vehicle

You will be given information about the location of your loved one. Depending on the severity of the situation, there are different routes that might be taken.

Typically the body is transported to the coroner who was at the scene. If an autopsy is necessary, the body of the deceased may be transported to a pathologist.

If an autopsy is necessary, the coroner or county attorney will be able to make arrangements for the family members to view the deceased body before the autopsy. Once the arrangements and autopsy are preformed, the body is then transported to the funeral home.

When dealing with an automobile accident, the vehicle will probably contain personal belongings. The towing company can remove them for you, or a family member might be able to retrieve them. If  law enforcement has put a hold on the vehicle, there might be  a delay in the process.

Continue reading “How to Handle an Automobile Casualty” »

Funeral Music and Why It Is Important

July 4th, 2011

Funeral Music has a natural way of reaching deep into our unconscious and provide the rich opportunity for healing, while accessing unspoken words, thoughts and feelings. It has a way of soothing and comforting someone in grief, stimulating pleasant memories of time shared with the departed person.

Funeral MusicThere are no rules for funeral music.

Different cultures and religions call for different types and styles of music. However, the music needs to reflect the departed character. Beautiful hymns, classical music, Celtic Aires, country classics or lullabies are the most popular styles. If you are having trouble choosing the right music, here is a list of some of the most used songs for funeral and memorial services. Funeral music works as a gathering and closing in the funeral or memorial service. It sets the time and structure for the ceremony.

Popular Funeral Music

Amazing Grace – Elvis Presley
The Prayer – Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli
Candle in The Wind – Elton John
Con Te Partiro/Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
I Am Your Child – Barry Manilow
Remember When – Alan Jackson
Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
What  A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Middler

Continue reading “Funeral Music and Why It Is Important” »

When A Death Takes Place In A Hospital

July 2nd, 2011

A great sense of grief and loss occurs over the death of a loved one, whether that death is sudden or expected. Experiencing an expected death doesn’t make things easier, but it does generally make the planning for the funeral less difficult.

The list of responsibilities and decisions when someone dies is large and can be overwhelming, but often times when a death is expected, the decedent may have had time to make their own wishes known, either vocally or in writing though a pre-planned will or estate; thus making it easier for the family.

Once the family has chosen a funeral home, the funeral director will help you plan the arrangements for the service.

They will need basic information about the deceased and the family; working with you to ensure a beautiful and respectful service to honor your loved one.