Funeral Planning Checklist

At Harold Wood Funeral Services, we understand how overwhelming the process of making funeral arrangements can be for people as they navigate the first days and weeks of loss.


With this in mind, we have created a funeral planning checklist to help guide you step-by-step through the things you may need to consider. No two funerals are exactly the same, so not every step will apply to every scenario. Instead, the checklist can act as a broad guide you can use to bring some clarity and order to your plans – even if that’s by understanding which stages you want to omit and which need to be completed. 

While you can find the funeral checklist below, we also have created a downloadable PDF version for your own personal use. This is a good option if it would be helpful to you to print the checklist off and add your own notes or amendments. 

For information regarding registering a death and further paperwork, please see our funeral advice and support page. 

  1. Understand whether the deceased left a funeral plan or last wishes for arrangements. ◯
  2. Check if there are any savings, funeral cover or life insurance in place to cover the costs of the funeral. If not, determine how costs will be covered and your budget. ◯
  3. If one is not already assigned via a funeral plan, choose a funeral director. You may wish to seek recommendations or consult the National Association of Funeral Directors. ◯
  4. Talk to your funeral director to understand their role, and decide which aspects of the funeral you would like to take care of yourself and which they can help you with. ◯
  5. Create a spreadsheet or document to help you keep track of costs. ◯
  6. Choose whether you would like to proceed with a burial or cremation. ◯
  7. Consider the funeral service and the options available to you, including direct cremation and woodland burials. ◯
  1. Determine your choice of: 
  • Coffin or urn ◯
  • Gravesite ◯ 
  • Funeral flowers ◯ 
  1. Choose the nature of your funeral service and, if applicable, choose your: 
  • Venue. ◯
  • Date. ◯
  • Officiant. ◯
  1. Decide whether you will hold a wake or similar memorial gathering. ◯
  2. Arrange funeral transport. ◯ 
  3. Create your guest list. ◯
  4. Send out funeral invitations. ◯
  5. Understand who wishes to speak at the funeral. ◯
  6. Pick hymns, music and readings. ◯
  7. Put together your order of service and other funeral stationery. ◯
  8. If you are holding a wake or memorial celebration, plan your: 
  • Venue. ◯
  • Catering. ◯
  • Any theme/requests (such as donations for a charity). ◯

If you have any questions or further thoughts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.