Key points to consider when planning a funeral

After a loved one passes away, if he or she did not leave directions behind in a will, you may have to make some decisions about what type of service you're going to have and what it will all entail. Below are a few key things you want to consider:

-- Are there any family traditions that should be upheld? Looking at funerals already held for grandparents and parents can help.

-- Do you want to have an open casket? Sometimes, this is determined in part by the manner of the person's passing, but you also want to consider the family and visitors. Would they like to see their loved one a last time?

-- Do you want to use a memorial service, not a funeral? A memorial service happens without the person's body being present, so it's more just a gathering for friends and family so that they can support each other, share stories and pay their last respects in this way.

-- Should you do both services? In some cases, the family will have a more intimate funeral, and they'll then hold a memorial service for friends, co-workers, neighbors and others. These people are important to the deceased and deserve a service, but they're not as closely involved as family.

No matter what answers you gave to the questions posed above, it's worth noting that funerals and memorial services are not free. Neither are burials or cremations. The costs can add up, and it may be wise to consider your rights to financial compensation if the passing was deemed a wrongful death.

Source: Funeral Plan, "Funeral or Memorial Service--Which One's Right for You?," accessed March 17, 2017

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