Who Plans The Funeral For Your Loved One?

Funeral planning is a time-sensitive and emotionally-charged task. But whose job is it? Who should take control of the planning, how do they do so, and what if they can't? Here are some key answers to your questions.

Where Should You Start?

The first place to look in order to start making funeral arrangements is the will or estate planning documents the deceased completed. It's not mandatory, but many people designate who they want to make decisions for their final arrangements. Family should abide by these wishes if at all possible.

What If No One Is Named?

Whether your loved one had no will or they didn't choose a planner, there are two ways to decide how to proceed. 

The first is to look at the state guidelines where you live. States' inheritance and probate rules set out an order of priority to list which surviving family members should take responsibility for the remains and arrangements.

This order generally starts with surviving spouses, then adult children, adult parents, and siblings. More relatives are listed in case no one steps up. Finally, an appointed trustee or fiduciary (such as the estate's personal representative) may take charge. 

Do You Have to Follow the Rules?

As long as the state probate court isn't ruling, families aren't beholden to these orders of precedence. So your family may opt for the second way to decide on the planner: designate someone among themselves. 

This is where the funeral home comes into play. They are a business and are obligated to work for their clients — the individuals who purchase goods and services through a contract. Whoever steps up to sign the contract with the funeral home to pay for the arrangements is the funeral home's client. 

What If You Can't Decide?

Unfortunately, during this difficult time, families don't always get along or may not have the same funeral plans in mind. 

If this happens and your family is truly in a deadlock, the party most likely to be supported by the probate court is the estate's executor or personal representative. If the court must get involved, they are likely to name this individual since the estate is usually who pays for the funeral as well. 

Where Can You Learn More?

What are the guidelines in your state? How can you step up and make a contract with the funeral home? Can more than one party sign the contract? Get answers to these and other questions by meeting with a funeral home in your area today. 

About Me

getting through the planning process of a funeral

Nobody ever really wants to think about what will happen when they pass away. I think that is why so many of us do nothing to plan for our funerals. After suffering through planning my father's funeral while grieving, I decided I wasn't going to do that to my kids — I knew right then that I would take care of as much of the planning as possible before my final day. This blog contains all sorts of information that can help you pre-plan your own funeral or even get through the planning process for the passing of someone that you love.