Funeral Arrangements Services Guide for Loved Ones or Yourself

Funeral Arrangements

Of all the preplanning final arrangements you make for that moment when others want to say goodbye, those for preplanning funeral  arrangements services are the most complicated. For loved ones, forced to make decisions they neither asked for nor are equipped to make, under the circumstances, they become the most incredibly difficult, agonizing, stress filled, emotionally devastating, confusing moments a human ever must endure.

In developing your final arrangements preplanning, it is not necessary that you purchase the choices you make in order to prepare your preplanning funeral services arrangements. What is critical to both the preplanning funeral services arrangements being ultimately carried out in your behalf and a lessening of the physical and emotional pain of the Loved One's survivors, is that they get recorded and safely stored but immediately accessible to those who you want to carry them out.

Here we will concentrate on those services rendered only by a Funeral Director for a Loved One and deal with such things as caskets, vaults, urns and memorials/markers, as a separate preplanning arrangement, since purchase of these goods can be made from more sources than has been thought in the past.

Funeral Arrangements Services of a Funeral Director

The Basic Service Fee

Every funeral home charges everyone this fee. It covers the overhead and services provided on every funeral. Typically this fee covers; the use of staff and facilities to coordinate the overall funeral with cemetery, church/synagogue, crematory, meet with the family to design the funeral, prepare and file the permits and authorizations connected with the funeral. It pays for the supervision of the various transfers of a Loved One's body from the moment of death to its final resting place.

Embalming Service

Optional fee but if there is going to be visitation it may need to be paid. Also, transportation of a Loved One's remains across state lines in the U.S. require embalming in most cases. 

Body Preparation

The cosmetology, casket positioning, and caring for the body. If there is no embalming there is generally a larger fee for this work as some preparation that would be done with embalming was not done. 

Visitation Personnel

Use of the facility and personnel to have visitations, the cost would depend on the amount of visitation requested, days or periods depends on the director's pricing system.

Staff Personnel for Services

Generally referred to as "Use of Facilities and Staff" and "Outside Services" in most general price lists of funeral homes. It covers the use of personnel, not equipment, for services at the facility, a church, cemetery, another funeral home, etc...

Transfer of Remains Services

Covers cost of pick up and delivery to the funeral home. Its cost depends on distance.


Charges depend on what and how many of the facilities vehicles are required for the event. Usually there will be a hearse and one or two limousines. Pricing depends on the type and number.

Obituary Notices

The service of preparing an obituary for a Loved One is generally part of the basic service fee but the cost of placement in a newspaper or multiple papers is charged to the funeral client.

Documentations & Filings

Usually this is part of the basic service fee but it is a good idea to find out if there are any additional costs for necessary documents and filing fees. (Example: Death Certificates,. necessary for insurance claims, probate and any other legal situation cost a less if they are gotten by the funeral director when he/she gets the original than if they are gotten at a latter date.)


This may be included in the basic service fee.

Register Book, Acknowledgement Cards, Prayer Cards, etc.

These items are so often overlooked, yet can have a long lasting effect on loved ones, as they may be the only physical item that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Forwarding of Remains

If the remains are going out of state in the U.S. or anywhere for that matter one funeral home coordinates with the other and this fee is charged by the initial facility. Usually, it does include the embalming and preparation for transport. 

Receiving of Remains

This is the same service on the other end. The remains are being sent to this facility. It does not, nor does forwarding, cover any other services that would require use of staff for such things as visitation, memorial services, church transport, etc.

Direct Cremation

A separate fee inclusive of the coordination functions of the basic service fee, to supervise a direct cremation, no embalming or visitations or other services. It does not generally include the actual fee for cremation. 

Direct Burial

A separate fee inclusive of the coordination functions of the basic service fee, to supervise a direct burial, no embalming or visitation or other services.

Direct Cremation Container

If a direct cremation service is to take place either the client (purchaser of services), the crematorium or funeral home needs to provide a container. This varies greatly from a simple cardboard container to the actual burning of a casket.

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