Immediate Need Funeral Arrangements

is Here to Help

Immediate, or at-need, funeral arrangements are made at the time of death, usually by surviving loved ones. If you have an immediate need or know that you will soon need funeral and memorial planning services, we are here to help. Contact us now and we can help ease the burden and assist with your planning needs. 

You are not alone.

If you need assistance after 9:00 PM EST during the week or 8:00 PM EST on the weekend, please call us or fill out the form below and a friendly representative will be in touch with the following the day.

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We Can Help

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We have found over the years that when a death occurs, many families are not clear on what immediate steps should be taken.

It can be a highly emotional and confusing time when a loved one passes. For that reason, we have listed the key steps that should be taken prior to making at-need funeral arrangements to ensure proper care for your loved one.  

  1. If there is an unexpected death in your home, call 911 immediately. Upon arrival, the medical team will provide specific instruction on the next steps. If your loved one was under hospice care, call the hospice immediately and they will take charge of the situation.

  2. As soon as possible, contact close family and friends, the deceased's physician (if a hospice is not involved), and the deceased's lawyer. If the deceased cared for any dependents, make arrangements immediately for their safe care.

  3. Look for any written instructions (Letter of Instruction, Final Instructions, Disposition Authorization) for funeral or memorial service arrangements and burial or cremation arrangements. Determine if the deceased named a "Designated Agent" to take care of the arrangements. Also determine if the deceased left any direction on donating organs or tissue upon their death.

  4. If you are the Designated Agent (or if there is none and you are taking responsibility), please contact us to schedule an arrangement conference to determine final arrangements. We can help with every step of the process.

If you would like more details on how to plan an immediate need funeral, feel free to review our step-by-step planning guide.

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Personal Items of the Deceased to Collect Prior to Discussion

When you meet with one of our immediate need funeral planning experts, we will walk you through everything you need to know and do. We can help with every decision. To make that process as productive and efficient as possible, please collect and bring the following items.

  • Completed Planning Guide with final arrangements. If not available:
    • Date of birth 
    • The complete legal name with correct spelling
    • Social security number
    • Parents’ names with the mother's maiden name
    • Occupation when working
  • Will or letter of instructions
  • Military service and discharge papers
  • Clothing including undergarments,but no jewelry
  • A recent photo of the deceased for identification purposes
  • Photos of the deceased for the Life Story DVD
  • Music suggestions for service
  • Prayers or passages for memorial folders or prayer cards

Overview of the Components that Need to be Chosen for an At-Need Funeral 

When it comes time to start planning the memorialization, there are essential elements of a burial, cremation, and funeral that need to be considered. They include:

  • Burial Plot: If a burial is intended and the exact spot within a cemetery has not yet been selected, it will need to be.
  • Casket: Available in different materials, colors, finishes, and decorations, the deceased will be displayed in your choice of casket if a viewing is to be held, and buried with it if there is to be a burial. They can also be placed into a mausoleum instead of a burial plot.
  • Vault: Most cemeteries require a vault to be included within a burial plot, to protect the casket and ensure level footing all around the plot.
  • Opening-and-Closing Ceremony: This is a burial planning service required by most cemeteries, that involves excavating the plot for burial and sealing it after burial.
  • Monuments and Markers: Most cemeteries will require one of these identifiers, either in the form of a monument such as a headstone that appears above the ground, or a flat marker installed upon the ground. This is where the details of the deceased are inscribed, and images, quotes, etc. can be added for additional costs.
  • Urn: If the deceased is to be cremated, an urn will hold their remains. Different materials and levels of ornamentation are available. It is possible to hold a service where the urn is displayed, and to even bury an urn in a casket within a burial plot. If this is to occur, a vault and opening-and-closing cemetery will most likely also be needed. Other options are cremation niches within cemeteries.
  • Floral Arrangements: Flowers are typically expected at both the memorialization service and the grave site.

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Helpful Guides

Making arrangements for an immediate need funeral can be difficult. There are so many decisions that need to be made, often times very quickly and with a lot of emotion. Below are some guides and checklists to help ease the burden and relieve some of the pressure that comes with planning final arrangements.

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Funeral Planning Checklist

MemorialPlanning.com offers a free downloadable checklist that can help simplify the funeral planning process. The checklist includes noting funeral service preferences, selecting a burial option, and suggestions for how to make it personal.

Free Checklist
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67 Things To Do

There are around 67 things to do when planning a burial at the time of need, and that list could grow at any time. When a family has just experienced a loss, they are often overwhelmed with grief. Be prepared by downloading our helpful to-do list.

67 Things To Do
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How to Plan a Funeral in Today's Uncertain Times

We live in strange times today, and this means that, like so many of us, you might be feeling uncertain and off-center when it comes to just about everything. We persevere, though, finding ourselves rising to the challenge when responsibilities fall into our lap. Sadly, one of those responsibilities may be planning a funeral for a loved one.

How to Plan
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View Services & Options

Just as no two people are alike, no two funerals are alike. While funerals often have many elements in common, they can differ greatly among various cultures and religions. A funeral is a most personal event, celebrating the lifespan of an individual. 

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Burial Options

Which is Right for You?

Did you know there are a variety of options to choose from when selecting a burial? In addition to the more common in-ground burials and cremation, there are also a host of above-ground options and more nature-friendly burials.

See Different Options