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Whether you donate your body or have it embalmed and placed in a lead-lined casket in a concrete-lined hole, whether you have a celebration of life or a funeral mass, a written pre funeral plan can get you what you want and take the burden of decision off your grieving family.

  • Burial, cremation, organ or body donation?
  • Transporting the body to the funeral home
  • Embalming and other preparations of the body? Is there a special dress or a uniform?
  • Flowers
  • Headstone, plaque or tomb
  • Hearse for body, limousine for family
  • Renting facilities for viewing or wake
  • Memorial cards and guest book
  • Transporting body to cemetery
  • Tents and chairs for funeral
  • Copies of death certificate
  • Notifying insurance companies, newspapers and organizations to which you belonged
  • Open or closed casket
  • Indoor memorial service or graveside service or both
  • Elaborate or simple service
  • Who conducts? Family member, religious leader, funeral home
  • Who speaks?
  • Should music be played? If so, what?
  • Should there be a reception after the funeral? If so, where?


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.


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