Funeral Planning Checklist

Friday, 19 November 2021

It can be a little daunting to think about with so many things to consider when planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one. These decisions are usually made with the help of the funeral director you’re working with, however, doing some smart research and planning can leave you feeling prepared and relieved. Apart from having peace of mind, having a well-thought-out funeral plan can also help you save money down the road.

To get you thinking about the funeral service, here is a list of common decisions that usually need to be made down the line. It is broken down into 3 sections:

  1. Key Details Checklist
  2. Funeral Services Checklist
  3. Funeral Items & Services Checklist

The funeral planning checklist can be used as a:

For further guidance, see our Guide to Planning a Funeral Service

  1. Key Details Checklist

These are the most basic questions you need to answer when planning a funeral, these questions must be answered before planning the funeral service and arranging any funeral items.

  • Religion of service (if any)?
  • Burial or Cremation?
  • Do you own a burial plot? – If not, do you have a preferred cemetery?
  • Or would you prefer cremation?
  • What location(s) or venue(s) would you like the funeral to take place?
    • Funeral home chapel
    • Place of worship
    • Crematorium chapel
    • Graveside
    • Private property
  • What would you like to do with remains?

If a burial:

  • Grave
  • Crypt

If a cremation:

  • Cemetery lawn or rose garden
  • Wall niche
  • Urns – either full size and/or keepsake urns or jewellery
  • Scattering

Before you proceed further, you should also set a budget. For guidance, you might find the following resources helpful:

  1. Funeral Services Checklist

There are so many options available when it comes to planning a funeral service. These questions will help you decide on the type of funeral service that is most appropriate and how it can be personalized for your loved one.

Structure of the Funeral Service

  • What type of funeral service would you like?
    • Single service – takes place at one location complete, such as chapel or church, without proceeding to the cemetery or crematorium. (The Funeral Directors will take the deceased to the cemetery or crematorium afterwards)
    • Dual service – starts at one location, such as chapel or church, and proceeds to the cemetery or crematorium for the final ceremony.
    • Graveside service – takes place entirely at the graveside
    • Memorial service – takes place after the body has been buried or cremated
  • Would you like a reception or gathering after the funeral or memorial service?
  • Would you like a viewing or private time spent with the loved one?

Personalising the Funeral Service

  • Who would you like to officiate the ceremony?
    • Celebrant
    • Clergy
    • Family Friend or relative
  • Who would you like to deliver eulogies?
  • Who would you like to deliver prayers, poems, or other readings?
  • What prayers, poems or other readings would you like to have read?
  • What songs or hymns would you like sung?
  • What music would you like played?
  • Would you like photos screened to music as a Photo Tribute?
  • Would you like Order of Service leaflets?
  • Who would you like to serve as pallbearers?
  • Is there an organisation you would like attendees to donate to?
  • Approximately how many attendees are you expecting?
  • Have you made a list of all the attendees you’d like to invite?
  • Are there any groups, clubs, or organisations that you would like notified and invited to the funeral?
  1. Funeral Items & Services Checklist

Finally, there are a number of items that are required to carry out the funeral. Your funeral director will help you source and arrange these items.

(Note: Not all of these items are mandatory, and you may be able to save money by arranging some of these items yourself.)

Mandatory Funeral Items

  • Coffin
  • Funeral Directors Professional Fees
  • Cemetery or Crematorium Fees
  • Certificates

Optional Funeral Items & Services

  • Transportation for the family
  • Funeral flowers
  • Photos to be displayed
  • Online/ Newspaper notices
  • Orders of service
  • Thank you cards
  • Memorial book
  • Musicians
  • Catering
  • Urns


We hope you find this funeral planning checklist helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1800 118 881 or email,