Handling the death of a loved one is always going to be challenging. If you’re also responsible for arranging that person’s funeral, then it can become all the more difficult. The funeral home you choose will help you through this process as much as possible and may even provide emotional support services.
To make sure you’re prepared before that initial meeting with the funeral home, here are the essential documents and information you need to have at the ready when arranging a funeral.
Your loved one may or may not have been through a pre-planning process before their death. This is especially likely if the death was expected, as in the case of lengthy illnesses. If they did so, make sure you have all their pre-arrangement documents with you. These will outline specific details of how they wanted to be sent off, which will help you and the funeral directors honor their wishes. If they have a will, then this may also include relevant information for planning their funeral.
Filing a death certificate
In order to legally process the death of your loved one and to continue with the funeral planning, a death certificate needs to be filed. If this has already occurred, then you can bring a copy of the certificate with you to speed the process along. If not, then the funeral director can file one for you, but they will require various pieces of information about the deceased. You should prepare for this and bring as many documents with you as you have access to that may contain important information. These may include:
Last will and testament
Power of attorney
Military discharge papers
Social security card
Content for an obituary
Some people decide to write a eulogy or obituary for their loved one while others leave this task to the funeral director. If you would like the director to write your loved one’s obituary, then make sure you bring in any relevant information that you would like mentioning in this. Writing out notes to hand to them is sufficient.
Obviously, paperwork is the last thing you want to be worrying about right now, but it’s important that you bring these documents with you to the funeral home to make the arrangement process go as smoothly as possible. If you need any support during this period, please get in touch with us at Hayworth Miller.
When someone has experienced a loss, you might want to give them some space to let them grieve and spend time with their family and close friends. Or perhaps you don’t live nearby, so you can’t stop by to express your condolences. In either of these situations, sending a personalized condolence letter is a good option.
It goes a step further than sending a generic sympathies card, allowing you to really express your condolences in a personal way and let that person know you’re thinking of them. You can send a condolence letter directly to the person or bring it with you if you’re attending the funeral or memorial service.
If you’d like to send a sympathy note to someone, then here are some tips for writing one.
Handwrite for that extra special touch
The personal nature of a sympathy note is what really shows that you care. You’re not just sending something because you feel obliged. Handwriting your note on nice stationery adds even more of a personal touch that could make the grieving family feel loved in this difficult time.
Directly express your sympathies
The best way to start a condolence letter is to acknowledge the loss and express your sympathies for it. Do this in a simple and straightforward way. Don’t skirt around the issue or try to justify the event with phrases like “everything happens for a reason.” Often, a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” is all that’s needed.
Remember the deceased
If you knew the deceased personally, then express what you’ll miss about them, why they were such a great person, or share some special memories you have of them. Reading this might bring a smile to that person’s face in a difficult time. If the death was very recent, then they might pass over these details due to the immediate pain of the event, but it might be something they come back to at a later date to remember their loved one fondly.
Offer your support
Grief can be an extremely lonely period. This person needs to know that they have friends and family members there for them if they need support. Finish the letter by saying you are there if they ever need to talk or have a shoulder to cry on. You might even offer help in more specific ways, like offering to bring them home-cooked meals or do the grocery shopping for them. People are often too upset or too busy with funeral planning during this time to focus on these kinds of tasks.
If you or someone you know needs support through a time of grieving, then we have lots of resources to help you through this difficult time. Contact us any time for support with funeral planning, pre-planning, and other services.