Planning ahead for death is not nearly as complicated or time-consuming as people think. Sure, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to planning for an impending death in the family or even your own. We know for sure that if you wait until after the death has occurred, you will generally pay too much at a funeral home. That’s why the San Diego Memorial Society encourages people to join the Society, fill out the Final Planning Booklet, and pick one of our ten mortuaries. Call us today to get yourself or a loved one signed up: 858-391-1267.

Then, the most important part is to talk with your family about those plans. Let them know where you keep your important documents and give them the information about the mortuary so they know who to call. It’s really not that difficult. 

We have put together an excellent checklist that you can use to get your ducks in order:

For the printable version click here

After‐Death Checklist for Survivors

 Decide who will do what tasks
 Contact those who will take on responsibilities
 Have someone write down every decision made and every action taken

Deceased’s basic personal information

 Full legal name
 Legal residence
 Length of time at current address
 Date of birth
 Place of birth
 Citizenship
 Health insurance information
 Social Security Number
 Occupation
 Employment or business history
 Marital history
 Spouse’s full name
 Father’s name
 Father’s birthplace
 Mother’s name
 Mother’s birthplace
 Next of kin, addresses, and relationship
 Executor’s name and contact information
 Attorney’s name and contact information
 Doctor’s name and contact information

Deceased’s obituary information *

 High school attended
 University attended
 Military record
 Family history
 Work or professional history
 Religious activities and affiliations
 Civic activities
 Special awards and accomplishments
 Hobbies, activities and interests
 Charities and other special requests

Contacts before disposition

 Relatives and friends
 Religious groups
 Organizations of which deceased wasa me mber:
o Professional groups
o Unions
o Civic groups
o Political groups
 Professionals that were close to deceased
 Places of prior employment

Disposition choices

 If deceased was a veteran, determine eligibility for Veterans burial benefits
 Determine if deceased had a prepaid funeral contract
 Who will make disposition arrangements?
 Choose burial or cremation or body donation
 Choose type of service (funeral with or without a visitation), memorial service, graveside service)
 Decide on funeral home or those who will act as funeral director
 Set time and date of service
 Choose location of service
 Discuss need for preparation/refrigeration/embalming
 Decide on viewing (none, family only, public)
 Decide on visitation with family
 Discuss casket or cremation container
 Discuss grave liner/burial vault or cremation urn, if desired
 Choose a cemetery or place of burial, if needed
 Arrange for burial plot or columbarium niche (unless ashes are to be scattered)
 Purchase grave marker (this can wait until later)
 Discuss other funeral needs, such as:
 Guest register
 Funeral or memorial service programs
 Acknowledgement cards
 Floral arrangement (if desired for casket)
 Determine whether any personal items are to be buried or cremated with deceased
 Supply clothing for deceased
 Select photographs and memorabilia to be displayed
 Make musical selections for any services
 Determine content of any services (readings, scripture, comments, etc.)
 Prepare and submit obituary to newspaper(s)and/or to AMBIS for website if deceased was an AMBIS  member
 Determine whether donations are to be suggested
 Locate religious or associational items to be used in services, if any
 Make arrangements for reception, if any
 Determine need for:
 Hearse
 Clergy car
 Family limousine
 Pallbearer limousine
 Flower car

Documents that may be needed

 Title to burial plot
 Prepaid funeral contract, if any
 Will
 Birth certificate
 Marriage certificate
 Insurance policies
 Bank records
 Deeds to property
 Vehicle ownership records
 Military discharge papers
 Citizenship papers
 Tax returns

Contacts after disposition

 Doctors (primary care and specialists)
 Dentist
 Employer
 Accountant
 Lawyer
 Banks and credit unions
 Insurance agent
 Financial/investor advisors and agents
 Creditors
 Those who owed money to the deceased
 Pension plan administrator
 Social Security Office
 San Diego Memorial Society if deceased was a member (858-391-1267)
 Department of Veterans Affairs, if deceased was a

We hope this helps you plan ahead.

Call if you have any questions about the Memorial Society.858-391-1267

We are committed to helping every person who calls in with a question.

We protect consumers from the high price of funeral homes.