How to Plan a Funeral

This funeral planning checklist sets out all the questions you will need to answer to plan a funeral service for your loved one. It is broken down into 3 sections:

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

This funeral planning checklist can be used as a:

  • Prepaid funeral planning checklist
  • At-need funeral planning checklist

You may find it easiest to print out a copy of this checklist and cross off each item as you go. Printable PDF: Funeral Planning Checklist – Australia

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

For help regarding what to do immediately after a death, see our Checklist for What to Do When Someone Dies.


1. Key Details Checklist

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

  • Burial or cremation?
  • Religion of the service (if any)?
  • Do you own a burial plot?
  • What location(s) or venue(s) would you like the funeral service to take place at?
    • Funeral home chapel
    • Place of worship
    • Cemetery or crematorium chapel
    • Private property
    • Public space (like a park or beach)
    • Graveside
  • What would you like to do with remains?
    • If a burial:
      • Grave
      • Crypt
      • Private property
    • If a cremation:
      • Cemetery lawn or rose garden
      • Wall niche
      • Kept in the family home
      • Scattering

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


2. Funeral Service Checklist

There are 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 personalised for your loved one.

Structure of the Funeral Service

  • Would you like a viewing, visitation or wake?
  • What type of funeral service would you like?
    • Single service – takes place at one location (such as a chapel or church) without proceeding to the cemetery or crematorium
    • Dual service – starts at one location (such as a chapel or church) and proceeds to the cemetery or crematorium for the final committal ceremony
    • Graveside service – takes place entirely at the graveside
    • No service, no attendance – does not involve any service or attendance (also known as a “direct committal”)
    • 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?

Personalising the Funeral Service

  • Who would you like to officiate the ceremony?
    • Celebrant
    • Priest
    • Clergy
    • Minister
    • Funeral director
  • Who would you like to serve as pallbearers?
  • 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 read?
  • What songs or hymns would you like sung?
  • What music would you like played?
  • Is there an organisation you would like attendees to make a donation to?

Attendees

  • Approximately how many attendees are you expecting?
  • Have you made a list of all attendees that you would like to invite?
  • Are there any groups, clubs or organisations that you would like to be notified and invited to the funeral?

3. 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

Optional Funeral Items & Services

  • Transportation for the family
    • Limousine
    • Funeral car
  • Flowers
  • Photos to be displayed
  • Online / newspaper notices
  • Orders of service
  • Thank you cards
  • Memorial book
  • Musicians
  • Catering

Finding a Funeral Director

Once you have answered the questions above and are clear on the funeral you would like to arrange, it’s time to find a funeral director. Gathered Here lets you instantly compare the prices and customer reviews for over 660 funeral homes around Australia. To get started:

  1. Go to www.gatheredhere.com.au
  2. Select burial or cremation
  3. Select the type of funeral you would like
  4. Select whether you would like a viewing
  5. Type in your postcode and click “Compare”

For more guidance on finding the right funeral director in your area, see our city specific guides:

We hope you have found this funeral planning checklist helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at support@gatheredhere.com.au or leave a message in the comments below.


See the full picture and make fully informed decisions. Move forward in the certainty that your loved one’s memory will be looked after. Funeral Homes are Gathered Here.

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