Q & A: What’s Involved With Planning a Funeral

If you’re suddenly faced with the responsibility of planning a funeral, you’ll find there are many options — and the choice can be overwhelming.   

Here are some common questions we hear. 

  • Q: Why have a funeral? 

A: A funeral gives people in mourning the opportunity to honor the life of their loved one. Grief shared is grief lessened, and a funeral allows people to share each other’s burdens, find closure and begin the healing process.  

  • Q: Who is responsible for planning the funeral? 

A: Typically, it’s the next of kin. This could be a spouse, parent, sibling or an adult child.  

  • Q: Is there a difference between a funeral and a memorial service? 

A: A funeral service is held before the person is laid to rest, typically with the body present. A memorial service can be held at any time that’s convenient for family and friends — even long after their loved one has been buried or cremated.  

  • Q: What does a funeral director do? 

A: A funeral director provides care, not only to the person who has died but also to the family. Many funeral directors feel a calling to their work, and take very seriously the responsibility of making a family’s darkest days as peaceful as possible.  

  • Q: Why have a visitation?  

A: A visitation gives people the chance to pay their respects before the funeral when it’s quieter and there is more of an opportunity to speak to the family. This kind of community support can help the family begin to heal.  

  • Q: Can a funeral be personalized? 

A: Yes, there are many options for this. Music and readings, for instance, are at the discretion of the person planning the funeral. Additionally, Signature Services℠ are available to make the service unique and special.  

  • Q: What if the death occurs away from home? 

A: Call us as soon as possible, so that we can help you arrange transportation and plan the funeral.  

While you’re thinking about how to plan a funeral for a loved one, it may be a good time to think about planning your own. When you preplan, you can ensure your funeral is meaningful and that your wishes will be carried out as you request. Preplanning lets you choose your readings, music, speakers and even the structure of your ceremony, while alleviating your family’s stress during a difficult time.  

Since 1909, Chapel of the Chimes Oakland has been helping families in our community plan life-honoring services. When you’re ready to preplan, give us a call on (510) 379-5200 or click here for your free preplanning guide. It’ll help you get everything in one place so your family won’t have to deal with the 100+ decisions and demands for information that typically happen after a death.

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