Executor, Family & Heirs

Funeral Planning Guide: How to Plan Ahead for Your Funeral or Memorial Service

After losing a loved one, concerns about planning the funeral arrangements flood the family. Family members must make these decisions quickly, and often under intense emotional duress. Taking the time to write out your funeral wishes in advance saves your loved ones a great deal of stress.

Use this guide to outline your funeral arrangement preferences.

Do you have a prepaid funeral plan?

If you have already made arrangements and paid for your funeral, provide your family contact information for the funeral provider and the location of any relevant documents. If you don’t have a prepaid plan, outline your preferences for the handling of your remains, service type and ceremony details.

How would you like your remains handled?

Decide whether you prefer a ground burial, cremation or interment in a mausoleum. If you want a burial, make sure your family knows the cemetery and the plot number (if you have already purchased one). If you want your remains interred in a mausoleum, provide the crypt number if already purchased. For cremation, inform your family whether you want your ashes scattered or interred.

What type of funeral service would you like?

Funeral services can vary greatly based on your preferences. You may choose to have a direct burial or cremation followed by a memorial service, a traditional funeral service followed by burial or cremation, or omit a memorial service altogether. Once you make that decision, you can provide your preferences for the service itself.

What do you want at your funeral or memorial service?

Would you like the family to hold a visitation or wake? Should the visitation have an open or closed casket? Who would you like to perform the eulogy? Is there a particular hymn or song that you want played or performed? You can also list readings of poems or religious text for your service. Include as much information about your wishes for your memorial service or funeral as possible. Providing your family with your preferences of everything from the clothing in which to bury you and desired flower arrangements to a list of pallbearers and ceremony officiant will relieve some of the burden of planning the service.

Do you qualify for special burial rights for veterans?

Honorably discharged veterans can receive several benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The funeral home can arrange for veterans to receive a U.S. flag to place over their casket or accompany the urn. National cemeteries allow for the burial of veterans (as well as spouses and dependents) at no cost. Eligible veterans are also entitled to a government headstone or marker whether buried in a national cemetery or not.

Paying for Funeral Costs

Typically, your estate pays for the cost of the funeral (unless you made prepaid arrangements). The estate pays funeral expenses before distributing assets to beneficiaries.

If you have questions on how to set aside money to pay for funeral services, contact a Fifth Third Bank advisor.

Fifth Third Bank does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax adviser or attorney before making any decisions or taking any action based on this information. This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute the rendering of tax or legal advice.

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