It is helpful for families to discuss their wishes regarding the funeral or memorial service before meeting with the funeral director.

Issues that can be discussed include:

  • Burial or cremation of the deceased person
  • The day, time and venue of the service
  • Who will conduct the service (celebrant or clergy)
  • Whether to have a viewing
  • The coffin or casket
  • Personalising options for the service
  • Music, flowers, photo slideshow, symbols of the person’s life
  • Refreshments
  • Charitable donations.

This is a summarised list of some of the items that a funeral director will possibly require.  Some of these items are not required at the initial appointment, and can be given to the funeral director in the days before the funeral service.

  • Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate/s, Citizenship Certificate, Passport.  (Having these documents will make it easier to complete the necessary paperwork to obtain a Death Certificate, but it is not essential).
  • The deceased’s Social Security card or number, and if there is a surviving spouse, their Social Security card or number.
  • Pre-Paid or Pre-Arranged paperwork, if applicable. (The chosen funeral home will have the original of these documents, so it is not essential for you to have these).
  • Clothing for the deceased, which can be whatever you feel is the most suitable for their personality/lifestyle. You can include underwear, stockings, shoes, hat, jewellery, glasses, handkerchief and dentures.  If you do not wish to provide clothing, you have the choice of the deceased remaining in their current clothing, or alternatively, the funeral director will provide a shroud.  A shroud is a length of cloth used to cover or wrap around the body of the deceased for funeral purposes.
  • The deceased’s personal make-up, perfume or men’s cologne.
  • A photo of the deceased either for guidance for the mortuary staff when preparing the deceased, and /or placement on the Order of Service Booklet if the funeral director is arranging the printing.
  • A preferred Order of Service Booklet from a previously attended funeral as a guide for the funeral director.
  • A framed photo of the deceased for placement at the funeral service either on the coffin or elsewhere at the venue.
  • Items to be placed in the coffin. (Treasured personal belongings, letters, cards etc)
  • Music and photo slideshows for the service, if applicable. (It is advisable to test both of these at the venue in the days before the service).

Please note it would only be in the extreme circumstance when there is a dispute as to who has the authority to arrange the funeral, that the deceased’s Will would be required by a funeral director, to prove the identity of the ‘Executor’.

Please see our  downloadable checklists on ‘What to Take to a Funeral Director, ‘Personal Details of the Deceased’ and ‘Personal Documents of the Deceased’ of the deceased for more information.

If you require the services of a Funeral Director, please use our Business Search facility here.