How to arrange a cremation

When arranging a cremation for a loved one or pre-planning your own cremation, you can seek relevant information and details from a local funeral home or cremation provider. In fact, it is also possible to pay for a funeral and cremation in advance.

Consulting with a professionally licensed funeral director can help you comply with the legal, procedural and local requirements that you may not be aware of. Moreover, the funeral provider may suggest better alternatives for the procedures you want to follow.

How to arrange a cremation

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Besides, you can take help and advice from non-profit memorial and funeral planning societies. For instance, when arranging a cremation for a loved one, you need to decide whether you want to go for direct cremation, cremation after a funeral service, or cremation followed by a memorial service.

People often prefer direct cremations that do not involve viewing or visitation. The procedure does not require embalming.

Plus, there is no need to spend on a standard casket as an alternative container can be used, thereby making the procedure simple and cost-effective.

In addition, you can discuss with the funeral director and other family members about the options for final disposition of the remains. Usually, the cremated remains are scattered, buried, entombed, or kept at home.

Watch the following video to understand more about cremation arrangements.

Steps for Arranging a Cremation

  • Contact some funeral homes, go through their general price lists stating the prices of all the items that they offer to compare prices, and then select the one that suits your needs.
  • Take the social security number and other details about the deceased to the funeral home for the funeral arrangement conference where you discuss the funeral and cremation plan.
  • Get the body of the deceased transported from the site of death or storage to the funeral home. The funeral provider shall also help you secure certified copies of the death certificate, arrange for a notice in the newspapers, and look after other necessary paperwork.
  • Obtain a medical certificate by a doctor stating the cause of death or a certificate by the Coroner in case there has been coroner’s post mortem examination.
  • Sign the authorization form for cremation of the deceased.
  • Get a casket or alternative container for the body in which the cremation has to be performed. If you need a casket for the funeral service but do not want to buy it, consider renting a casket.
  • Select a cremation urn for storing the ashes.
  • You may ask the funeral home for a witnessing service so that you can witness cremation. Some crematoriums, however, do not allow it.
  • After the cremation has been performed dispose of the cremated remains by burying in a burial plot, placing in a columbarium, or entombing in a mausoleum.Besides, you may opt to scatter the ashes in a scattering garden, national park (if the local laws allow it), private property (with the owner’s consent), etc. The cremated remains can also be floated in water or scattered by plane.

All these arrangements are usually made by the next-of-kin or the Executor of the will. If you do not want to employ a funeral director then you can make the arrangements yourself.

Thus, you will have to obtain the death certificate and other paperwork, select a crematory, hire a transportation service for collecting and transporting the body, and look after other tasks associated with the funeral and cremation independently. You may contact the local cremation authorities for guidance.

How to arrange a cremation

You can arrange an unattended cremation over the phone in just a few minutes. Your loved one will then be collected from their place of death and cremated without a ceremony at a crematorium.

What is an unattended funeral?

An unattended funeral is a funeral that isn’t witnessed by the family and friends of the person who died. Instead, the cremation or burial takes place privately at the crematorium or burial ground. This can either be handled by a funeral director or direct cremation specialist.

Once the unattended funeral has taken place, the family and friends can arrange a memorial service at a time that’s right for them. This could be anything from a picnic in the park, to fireworks by the beach, to dinner at a favourite restaurant. If you choose to have a direct cremation, you can even choose to have your loved one’s ashes present at the memorial service.

How does an unattended cremation work?

An unattended cremation is a simple cremation service that doesn’t include a ceremony. Instead, most families choose to have a memorial service once their loved one’s ashes have been returned.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your loved one is collected from their place of death – this could be the hospital, their house, a mortuary or a care home.
  • Their body is transported to a crematorium, identified with a physical tag and prepared for the cremation.
  • The cremation is carried out by a highly-professional team – this usually takes between two and three hours.
  • Your loved one’s ashes are collected in a temporary urn and you are notified that the cremation has taken place.
  • Someone contacts you to arrange hand-delivery of your loved one’s ashes.

How much does an unattended cremation cost?

An unattended cremation with Farewill costs £980. This is 75% less than the average cost of a cremation in the UK and includes all of the following:

  • Bringing your loved one into our care from anywhere in England and Wales
  • Preparation of all paperwork needed for the cremation
  • The cremation fee itself
  • Carrying out the cremation
  • Hand-delivery of the ashes back to you
  • A dedicated person to help you through the process

In some cases, additional fees may apply, which you can see outlined below:

  • £164 doctor’s fees
  • £250 complex collection fee

If you want to know exactly how much your unattended cremation will cost, please call our team on 020 3695 2090 for a free quote.

Who chooses to have an unattended cremation?

In most cases, the deceased’s family is responsible for choosing what type of funeral to arrange. However, if your loved one left a will, they may have included funeral wishes stating that they want an unattended cremation – as was famously the case with David Bowie in 2016.

If your loved one didn’t leave any funeral wishes and you’re not sure if an unattended cremation is right for them, here are a few questions to help you out:

  • Did they have a traditional personality or were they fairly free-spirited? If they were quite traditional, a more formal funeral ceremony is probably the right option. But if they were more of a free-spirit, you could arrange an unattended cremation and then have a memorial service at their favourite beach or beauty spot.
  • Did they ever mention that you shouldn’t spend too much on their funeral? An unattended cremation with Farewill costs 75% less than the average funeral in the UK. So if your loved one ever made a point about doing something modest or inexpensive, an unattended cremation may be a good option.
  • Did they ever talk about where they would want their ashes scattered? Many people are more interested in their final resting place than what kind of funeral they have. So if your loved one ever discussed where they want their ashes scattered but didn’t talk about their funeral, an unattended cremation may be the right choice.

Why arrange an unattended cremation?

There are many reasons to arrange an unattended cremation for your loved one, including:

  • You know they wouldn’t have wanted a traditional funeral
  • You don’t want to spend thousands on something formal and impersonal
  • You want to arrange a more personal memorial service with your family
  • You’re struggling to get family and friends together in time for a traditional funeral
  • You need to delay the memorial service for many weeks or months

Where does an unattended cremation take place?

An unattended cremation takes place at a crematorium and is carried out by a team of caring and experienced professionals.

As well as carrying out the cremation itself, we also handle transportation to the crematorium from anywhere in England or Wales.

Once the cremation has taken place, we can then arrange for the ashes to be hand-delivered at a place and time that’s right for you.

Arrange an unattended cremation today

If you want to arrange an unattended cremation for your loved one, please give us a call on 020 3695 2090.

We can provide you with a free quote over the phone, and we can also answer any questions you have about our service.

Article reviewed 17 March 2020

How to arrange a cremation

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How to arrange a cremation

Arranging your own cremation may seem a daunting task—complicated, and perhaps quite distressing in theory. But in fact, settling post-life arrangements ahead of time can be much simpler—and more rewarding—than you might think. It relieves your family of some of the burden of responsibility that follows a loved one’s passing. It can also come as a relief to you to know that your wishes are known and will be honored by those you love when you are gone.

But where do you start? Taking things one step at a time can make arranging your own cremation easier.

Step 1: Consider your preferences

It’s important to ask yourself, “What do I want? How do I want to be laid to rest, and how do I want to be remembered?” There are more options than ever for cremation and memorial services, and no one right way to say goodbye. Do a little research and see what draws your attention. Think about your beliefs and those of your family , and consider what options fit those beliefs best. For some, the thought of a loved one keeping their ashes in an urn at home may be most comforting; for others, burying the urn may be more suitable. Let your personal preferences guide your choices.

Step 2: Choose a cremation provider

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to compare cremation providers and services. Traditional funeral homes, for example, tend to offer service packages that include cremation as well as a full funeral service—but often at a hefty price, and with a strict timetable. Direct cremation , on the other hand, offers a more straightforward option—a simple cremation service for a much lower price that leaves you free to plan a unique memorial service on your own schedule, your own way.

Step 3: Create a financial plan

After choosing your cremation provider, you’ll need to decide how to pay for your cremation. Again, you have several options for how to plan financially for your end-of-life expenses. You may wish to set money aside by purchasing a cremation insurance policy or setting up a Payable on Death (POD) account that will release your funds to a beneficiary of your choosing when you pass away. Or, you can arrange a prepaid plan directly with your preferred cremation provider to dictate the specific service you’d like for a guaranteed price that won’t increase with inflation. Before signing anything, be sure to read the fine print carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything seems vague or confusing.

Step 4: Plan your memorial

How much planning is involved in this step depends largely on the cremation provider and service you choose. If you’ve chosen a traditional funeral home with a full funeral service, you may find your choices limited; the funeral home will make most of the arrangements for you. If, however, you’ve chosen a direct cremation, there are a number of memorial options to choose from. Perhaps you’d like your family to conduct a spreading of ashes ceremony . Or, perhaps you’d prefer an interment ceremony in a local cemetery where you can be buried near other dearly departed loved ones.

How elaborate or simple your service is, and how detailed your instructions are, will be entirely up to your preferences and your budget. Just be sure to do your research. For example, if you want your ashes scattered in a particular place, take care to ensure that your family will be able to legally spread your ashes there—and that they will be able to afford any travel expenses that may be necessary to get there.

Step 5: Name someone to carry out your wishes

Whether or not you chose to involve family or friends in the steps above, it’s important to choose at least one person to share your plans with. This should be someone who you can trust to carry out your wishes to the best of their abilities. They should be responsible enough to keep things organized and ensure everything proceeds smoothly. Most of all, they should understand you and your beliefs well enough to be able to make informed decisions and find suitable alternatives should changes need to be made for any reason after you’re gone. Likewise, it’s important to keep this person informed of any changes you may make to your plans. Be sure to let them know where to find any documents they may need to carry out those plans when the time comes.

The simplicity of arranging your own direct cremation

It may seem easier not to think about the future, but planning ahead can help alleviate some of the anxieties surrounding that future—both for you and your family. Having a roadmap ready to follow when you’re no longer there to guide them can help your loved ones find a clear path forward during a difficult time.

Direct cremation offers the simplest, most affordable solution—and for the highest quality service at the lowest cost, there’s no cremation provider like Tulip Cremation. Tulip’s direct cremation service starts at just $600 and includes everything from transportation to preparation to the cremation itself. After cremation, your ashes can be shipped in a simple container to any U.S. postal address. Tulip also offers two prepaid cremation plans for low, transparent prices that can be paid in installments of just $49 or $69 a month. Making arrangements is as simple as a phone call or a quick visit to our website . Our expert Family Care Team will be available to talk 24/7 whenever you or your family need us.

To find out more about our cremation service, call our Family Care Team at (844) 942-4909 or visit our website to arrange online.

How to arrange a cremation

How to Arrange Cremation Services

There are many reasons to prefer cremation over burial. Generally, cremation is more environmentally friendly, is portable, uses less land, and incurs fewer expenses. Here is some information if you are wondering how to arrange cremation services for yourself or a loved one.

Pick Your Cremation Service Provider Carefully

When you are choosing your loved ones’ method of disposition, you want to be sure that you are giving this most delicate duty to a funeral home that is going to show nothing but the utmost respect for the recently deceased. Some funeral homes have their own crematories and handle the entire process while others outsource the actual cremation to a third party.

Meet with different providers and ask the same questions of each so that you can get a true feel for how the procedure is going to be handled. After all, you want to feel that you are selecting a funeral home you feel comfortable with.

You may ask different questions if you are prearranging a cremation service for the indefinite future versus a situation where your loved one is either deceased or where death is imminent. If you need services shortly or presumably in the distant future, you may want to ask things such as:

  • Will you use your own crematory?
  • When will the cremation take place?
  • What is your identification procedure?
  • How can I be sure the remains I receive are my loved ones?
  • Can I witness the cremation?

However, if you are prearranging a cremation with a completely undetermined time frame for death, you might have additional questions. For example, if you have moved from the area, or are traveling, who would be responsible for returning the deceased to the cremation service provider?

One of the most important questions that you should focus on is where your loved one is going to be cremated. Suppose you want to be assured that your loved one stays safely in custody from start to finish with no possibility of error. In that case, it is better to choose a funeral home that does not use a stand-alone crematory or a third-party provider. It is best to select a facility like Robinson Funeral Home that uses one of their two on site crematories for the procedure. This ensures that the body is in their care the entire time.

Decide Upon the Service

While some people know exactly what kind of service they want for themselves or a loved one, for others, it is not so straightforward. There are many different options available, and it is worth considering what will bring the most peace to the deceased’s survivors. Whether you choose a funeral or a memorial service, you have the ability to provide a respectful, dignified service that gathers family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This gives them the opportunity to mourn together and also can beautifully provide closure.

While the terms funeral and memorial service are quite frequently used interchangeably, there are, in fact, subtle differences between the two. Typically, a funeral takes place with the deceased’s body, whether it is to be buried or cremated later on. It can be done at a religious place of worship, funeral home, or even graveside. Usually, this occurs within a week after death. A memorial service generally takes place after disposition has occurred. Some people even choose to have a private funeral, followed by a larger memorial service later on.

Cremation gives families many different options for services. You might choose to have a visitation and viewing of the body followed by a funeral with the body in a casket and the physical cremation after that. Or, you may prefer to have the cremation occur and then a memorial service at a later date. Many people appreciate the flexibility that cremation affords, especially when they have family out of the area who must make travel preparations for the service. In fact, some families choose to have the memorial take place weeks or even months after their loved one’s death.

Settle the Financials and Paperwork

Several things must be settled to arrange cremation services and finalize them. First, pay for the cremation. If you are preplanning, you have the opportunity to take care of financial arrangements now, so there are no questions later on. You can work Robinson Funeral Home to find a package that is appropriate for your needs and budget and to discuss available payment options. Also, consult your life insurance company to see what benefits are available to you.

To proceed with cremation, you need an official copy of the death certificate. We can help you with this task. While you are requesting a death certificate for these purposes, you should order additional copies for forthcoming tasks.

The next step is to transport the body to the funeral home. We will complete this process with dignity and respect. You also must provide signed authorization for the cremation and any additional paperwork.

Determine What to Do with the Cremated Remains

Deciding what to do with ashes following a cremation can be a difficult decision that has many options available to you. First, decide upon a container for the remains. There are many different types of urns to select from, and it brings comfort to pick one most similar in style to the deceased.

Next, decide what you are going to do with the cremated remains after the services are over. This may require some discussion with family members or loved ones. Various choices include:

  • Ground burial
  • Scattering of the cremated remains
  • Keeping the urn at home
  • Placing in a niche or columbarium

Contact Robinson Funeral Home

While we cannot control the process of death, we can walk with you in making the proper decisions. Whether you select a traditional burial or choose to arrange cremation services, the compassionate, professional staff at Robinson Funeral Home is here to make this very difficult time easier for you. Contact us any hour of the day or night and benefit from our experience at providing superior assistance throughout the process.

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How to arrange a cremation

Direct cremation is a disposition option in which the body is cremated in the days immediately following the death, without a funeral service beforehand. Direct cremation is the most economic (affordable) option for disposition.

Basic Features Of Direct Cremation

Because direct cremation does not include a formal funeral or any pre-funeral events, many of the costs of a traditional funeral are avoided.

  • The body is cremated immediately after death, which means that you may engage the services of a crematory directly rather than a funeral home. This can potentially save you a significant amount of money.
  • The body is usually cremated in a simple container, rather than an expensive casket
  • There is no viewing, visitation, or wake before the cremation, which eliminates the need for embalming or other body preparations
  • A memorial service may be held at a later date, which eliminates the need for an expensive casket and funeral arrangements

Service Options

If you are interested in a direct cremation but want to have a formal service as well, that service will likely take the form of a memorial service at a later date. If you want to have a service before the cremation, you will not be planning a direct cremation, but rather a “traditional” cremation.

How To Arrange A Direct Cremation

In most cases, the staff at the crematory will be able handle all aspects of the cremation, including completing the death certificate and transporting the body to the crematory for a nominal fee. In addition, a crematory will often charge a fraction of the price that a funeral home would charge for the same services.

You may also work with a funeral home to plan a direct cremation. The funeral home will complete the death certificate and transport the body to the crematory for a small fee, in addition to the Basic Services Fee that they will charge for their services.

Direct Cremation Costs

Direct cremation is the least expensive disposition option, as the most expensive purchases—casket, preparing the body, funeral service, extensive transportation—are avoided. In addition, some funeral homes may charge a lower Basic Services Fee (funeral homes’ non-declinable flat fee) for direct cremation. If you are interested in saving money, it’s worth calling a number of different funeral homes to find one with a lower direct cremation Basic Services Fee.

If you are planning on burying the cremated remains in a cemetery plot or interring them in a columbarium, you will also need to take into consideration any cemetery costs, such as the cost of the plot or columbarium niche, the cost of a headstone or grave marker, and any cemetery fees such as opening and closing of the grave, headstone installation fees, and endowment care or perpetual care fees, among others.

Personal Advocacy

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, you have the following rights when it comes to planning a direct cremation:

  • You are never required to use or purchase a casket for direct cremation
  • The funeral home or crematory you’re working with must make available an unfinished wood box or alternative container for the cremation
  • If you provide an urn to the crematory, they must return the cremated remains to you in the urn you provided; if you don’t provide an urn, they must return the cremated remains to you in a container, which may be a cardboard box

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How to Arrange for Cremation

You can arrange a cremation service in advance or immediately after a loved one has passed away. Cremation arrangements can all be made ahead of time to ensure that finances are not a problem when the time comes and to ensure the wishes of the deceased are honored. Alternatively, you can also plan a cremation service when the need arises, as it can often be difficult to predict the loss of a loved one. Making these plans includes several key decisions and can incur a variety of expenses. Knowing your options and requirements can help you make the appropriate arrangements. Learn more about how to arrange a cremation by reading the sections below or downloading our in-depth guide on the subject.

How to Arrange a Cremation

Knowing how to arrange cremations requires understanding all the options involved. To arrange a cremation service, first understand that there are many options for honoring a loved one who has passed, including a wake, which is also called a visitation or a viewing. Additionally, you can plan a funeral service or a memorial service. Cremation for seniors can include any or all of these options. Make your cremation arrangements based on the type of services you might want for yourself or your loved ones.

You can schedule a cremation with the help of a funeral home if you intend to use its services, or you can contact a crematory directly. To begin your cremation plans, you will require a death certificate and an authorization and permit to cremate the body. The person responsible for arranging those certificates will be determined by your choices for services and the type of cremation.

Scheduling a cremation also includes considering your plans for the ashes after cremation. Your arrangements to cremate might include a plan to scatter the ashes or to place them in the right urn. You could also choose to bury the ashes at a cemetery or mausoleum. You may even choose to bury them on private property, with permission and where it is legally permitted.

What does cremation involve?

Learning what cremations involve will help you to better navigate the situation when the time comes. Cremation arrangements serve as an alternative to full-body burial in a casket. Cremation is the act of turning the body into ash. Making cremation arrangements as a senior offers you a choice in how you want to be honored by your loved ones, and it ultimately costs significantly less than purchasing a coffin and a plot at a cemetery. Still, when someone is cremated, his or her ashes can still be buried in a cemetery or in a mausoleum. They may be kept by a loved one as well.

To understand what to consider when cremating a loved one, it is vital that you know the steps to take after a death. After passing, a body must be moved to either a funeral home or to a crematory. When you arrange a cremation service, you can choose for the body to be cremated within a casket or an alternative vessel, which could be as simple as a cardboard container. Whatever cremation procedures you choose, however, there can be no metal at all, and the material you use must be safely combustible. All pacemakers and similar devices must be removed prior to cremation.

Your cremation preparations might include scheduling a witnessing, which some crematories allow. If you prepare a cremation service, you can request that family members witness the cremation for final closure. If you would like to be there when the body is cremated, you will have to arrange with the crematory for a specific day and time.

How to Arrange a Cremation Service

Arrange a cremation service based on your preferences and budget. You can choose to have no cremation services at all, or you could have several options for family and friends to pay their respects to the deceased.

Cremation arrangements should include a plan for your cremation service. Make your own cremation arrangements in advance to ensure your wishes are honored. Many senior cremation plans can be made in advance to help alleviate the stress their families might feel during this time. Loved ones may choose to have a wake or a viewing at home or at a funeral home. Although cremation service arrangements do not typically involve a viewing, you might be able to rent a casket for this if you intend to cremate afterward. Some people choose to have a full funeral service prior to or after cremation. The service can be religious or not, depending on the preferences of those involved. You could arrange a cremation service at a later date if you have family and friends spread far and wide. These types of cremation arrangements are typically called memorial services or celebration-of-life services. These can be held at any time, from days to months after a person has passed away.

Your cremation service considerations as a senior are entirely up to you and your personal preferences. If you arrange for cremation in advance, you can make your own choices known to close family and friends in writing. You can also pay for certain services ahead of time.

How to arrange a cremation

Arranging cremations is a part of the cremation services we provide to you and your family. Whether you choose a direct cremation (no service before the cremation) or a cremation with a funeral service, the process of arranging a cremation is the same.

The first step in arranging a cremation is having the funeral home transport the body to the funeral home after your loved one has died.

If your loved one died in a hospital, the medical staff there may notify the funeral home so that the body can be transported. If your loved one died in home hospice care, then you will notify the hospice nurse (if they are not there) of the death, and they will come and call the funeral home for transportation as part of their attending duties.

Some states (New York has no such requirement) require at least 24 hours before someone is cremated, so even if you choose direct cremation, it will necessarily be delayed until such time limit has passed (usually 24-72 hours depending on state law where the death occurred). There is a lot of paperwork, which your funeral director will take care of, that must be done for cremations. This is to ensure that cremations are done professionally and compassionately.

A death certificate is needed before your loved one can be cremated. The death certificate is a document that needs information from the medical staff taking care of your loved one and from the funeral director. Be sure to have your loved one’s personal information, such as date of birth, full name, and profession ready when you go to the funeral home.

You will also need to complete a cremation authorization form for your loved one who has died. If there are additional forms required by New York, your funeral director will have them all and will make sure they are completed.

The only requirement for the container used to hold the body during a cremation is that it be combustible (wood, particle board or cardboard). The Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home offers you a wide array of options to choose from to meet your needs and preferences.

Your loved one’s cremation remains will be returned to the funeral home in a temporary container, so selecting an urn is a decision that will need to be made. The Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home provides a wide selection of urns and keepsake sharing urns and jewelry to meet your tastes and needs.

Generally the cremated remains will be available from the crematory within 24-48 hours from the time we delivered the deceased to the crematory.

Once the cremated remains are ready, they will be returned to the funeral home. You have several options for their final disposition. If you choose burial in a cemetery plot or an urn garden or storage in a columbarium niche, the funeral director will take care of all the necessary paperwork and details to get this done.

If you decide to do something else or you don’t know what you want to do yet, you can take the cremated remains home with you.

Arranging cremations is included in the cremations services we offer, so you can depend on our compassionate and experienced team at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home to help you. You can visit our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can call us today at (607) 722-4023.

A ‘celebration of life’ honors the passing of a loved one in a personalized way

by Louise Kramer, AARP, May 11, 2020 | Comments: 0

How to arrange a cremation

En español | When Andrea Traubner lost her husband, Richard, to Lou Gehrig’s disease after 42 years of marriage, per Jewish tradition he was buried within 24 hours. Nine months later and starting to emerge from her grief, Andrea welcomed more than 100 guests to a celebration of Richard’s life.

Richard was a prominent music scholar, and the service reflected that — complete with a pianist and professional singers performing songs from his favorite operettas. A filmmaker friend and her son created a video tribute they played before the service. Programs with photos and memories of Richard were on each seat for guests to take home.

“Producing the concert was difficult, but it focused my mind and helped me set aside the grief, day after day,” Andrea says. “When I heard the singers first rehearse with their accompanist, Richard’s memory shone out like a bright and beautiful star.”

Celebrations of life honor the memory of a loved one in a personalized way and typically don’t include the liturgy of a traditional funeral service. The term “celebration of life” is interchangeable with “memorial service.” The major difference between a memorial service and a funeral is that there is no body present at a memorial service, says William Mariani, a funeral director with Rossi Funeral Home in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Funerals are held soon after a death, often within a week. “A memorial service can be held at any time, any place for whatever the particular reason,” Mariani says.

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Memorial services have become more prevalent as cremation has outpaced traditional burials in the U.S., a trend fueled by boomers’ growing concern about the cost and environmental impact of burials coupled with a fall in religious affiliations. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the 2019 cremation rate in the U.S. is projected to outpace the burial rate for the fourth year in a row. By 2040, the cremation rate is projected to reach 78.7 percent.

What steps do you need to take to plan a celebration of life? Here are some suggestions:

Pick a date

“Preplanning can happen when the family feels they have gotten through the first wave of grief,” says Rabbi Melinda Bracha Bernstein, a freelance rabbi in Tamarac, Florida, who leads lifecycle ceremonies for all faiths. “Sooner is better,” she says. “If people don’t have that sense of completion, they are walking around with this heaviness.” For timing, consider when it is practical for the most guests to attend, such as on a holiday weekend, and how far people have to travel.

Don’t go it alone

Pick a close friend or family member as the point person for the event, and allow them to delegate tasks such as selecting and renting a venue, planning the program, sending out invitations and arranging for food and drink if desired. Many of us have someone in our circle who is good at taking charge. If not, consider engaging a funeral celebrant, which is a professional who helps design a customized service that reflects the deceased’s personality, values, culture and wishes. Resources to find one near you include Funeralwise and the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

Include elements of faith

If the deceased was religious, a priest, minister, rabbi or imam can lead the ceremony or help weave in elements of their faith. “The person in charge of the service can either lean on a funeral director for guidance or just call the local church, synagogue or house of worship the individual belonged to, and the leader of that community is usually willing to help,” says Mariani.

Select the right location

The venue can be anywhere from your local VFW Post or a favorite restaurant to a golf course or park. Some people prefer the intimacy of a service at home, while others opt for services at a church or synagogue.

Personalize the service

There are no fixed rules for the program. “My only rule is to make it a reflection of the person you are honoring,” says Anne Murphy, a lifecycle celebrant in Saint Paul, Minnesota. “You should have a really good idea of how they lived and how they impacted our lives by the end of the service. If you don’t, it can feel really empty.” Gather memories, stories and mementos such as photos and letters from family members and friends. Murphy suggests using a shared online document that all involved in the service can see and comment on beforehand so that everyone is comfortable about what is to be shared.

Jeff Baron, a playwright and children’s book author, has led numerous services for friends and family in the past 20 years. “I think about it the way I think of putting on any show. I make it meaningful and engaging for the intended audience and for the deceased,” he says. His tips include having a rehearsal for speakers, as well as offering to read remembrances for those who are uncomfortable speaking in public or who cannot attend.

Share an item of remembrance

Some services provide attendees with a takeaway, such as a card with the deceased’s favorite poem and the event’s program. Bernstein always brings stones. “I have people hold them and connect to the individual through them, and then put it in their pocket and take it home or put it in their garden,” she says.

In all, a celebration of life should “uplift the memories of the deceased and elevate the hearts of the survivors,” she says.