When a loved one dies, it can be a very disturbing time for the survivors. They are faced with a myriad of tasks before, during, and after the funeral service. We at Kimbrell-Stern are trained to provide thoughtful assistance during these challenging times. In an effort to be of greater help, we have developed the following checklist of important things you may wish to consider in preparing for the tasks that lie ahead.
The very first thing you will want to do is call us. If this is long distance, please call us collect. We will immediately go to work to care for the deceased and help you arrange funeral services. At your convenience, we will want to discuss the following information:
- Vital statistics about the deceased such as full name, address, social security number, birthdate, marital status, etc.
- Personal history of the deceased such as education, employment, military service, memberships and affiliations, general biographical information, etc.
- Clergy to be contacted
- Immediate family and friends to be contacted
- Notices in newspaper and other media
- Type of funeral service desired
- Type of casket, vault, urn
- Musical selections
- Scriptural selections, poetry, readings
- Floral requests
- Clothing and jewelry requests
- Casket bearers
- Type of disposition: earth burial, entombment, cremation, etc.
- Organ and tissue donation preferences
Here are some of the possible sources of financial assistance you will want to investigate:
- Pre-funded trusts or funeral plans
- Insurance policies: life, health, accident
- Social Security
- Veterans Administration
- Employer or union pension funds
Here are some of the items that may affect probate procedures in settling the estate of the deceased:
- Will, letter of instruction, or estate record
- Real estate holdings
- Checking and savings accounts
- Safe deposit boxes
- Business assets and other holdings
- Federal estate tax, inheritance tax, and personal income tax
Although funeral ceremonies are designed to honor the life of the deceased, they are also a means of helping survivors begin to deal with the reality of the loss. During the days and events which constitute the formal funeral services, you may want to consider the following suggestions:
- Share your feelings and memories with family and friends
- Include children in the funeral services
- Be patient, and take things slowly
- Allow extra time to get ready for each event
- Get as much rest as possible
- Try to eat balanced meals
- Select helpful reading material. Your funeral director can suggest several good booklets.
The following suggestions are provided to help you in acknowledging those who participated in the funeral and expressed their sympathy. Within two weeks of the funeral...
- Send a personal note thanking the clergy for spiritual help. If a gratuity is offered, it may be included with the note.
- Send a note of thanks to casket bearers and friends who volunteered services, sent flowers, made offerings, contributed memorials, gave money, or provided food.
- Reply to letters and telegrams with a brief note. Sympathy cards do not require a reply.
- Use your best judgment for situations not listed above. In general, an acknowledgement card with a few personal words added is sufficient to express your gratitude.
The process of grieving and adjusting to life without the deceased does not end when the ceremonies are concluded. The days and weeks ahead will bring new challenges and adjustments. Here are some of the things you will want to consider as you move on with your own life: