Choosing and Planning a Funeral Service in New York

Losing a loved one can invoke a range of emotions: shock, grief, fear, loss, anger, hopelessness. The last thing you may want to have to do is make the dreaded final arrangements and assume the responsibility of choosing the way to say goodbye. But when you do have to face that reality, it can actually be empowering to have something else to focus on besides your loss and to make decision regarding how you want your loved one to be remembered.

In fact, there are lots of options and different types of services to plan a funeral or memorial service. In New York, there are plenty of resources to seek help about cost, the requirements and laws to help you decide what type of service you want and how to plan for it. Factors that can affect the type of service you choose can be whether you are interested in a religious or secular service, memorial service or a funeral, burial or cremation, etc. You can find more details on the different types of service available in New York here. >Link to the different types<

Think about what your loved one would want. If you ever had a conversation with your loved one about the type of service, even a casual one, now is the time to consider those wishes. Think about it: Were they a free spirit, full of laughter and jokes? Or were they more formal and traditional? Were they religious and had a consistent church home, friends or family? Did they have a respected clergy member they stayed in contact with?

Most services, whether traditional or less formal, will have some form of an obituary, where you describe the person’s life in writing. Where were they born, where did they go to school? Who did they marry? What are their children and grandchildren’s names? You can also list the names of any special friends and family that you know your loved one would want acknowledged. The obituary also often includes the order of events of the service and sometimes words of encouragement or poems in memoriam.

Helpful Checklist for New York.

The City of New York has a resourceful download that gives a comprehensive checklist of costs to consider when you’re choosing the type of funeral service you want for your loved one. It may be helpful to scratch off the items that don’t apply to the type of service you have chosen.

The list includes (taken from the guide in alphabetical order):

  • Basic Arrangements Fee
  • Burial
  • Casket (or other burial container)
  • Cemetery Fee
  • Chapel (may require a deposit)
  • Clergy Honoraria
  • Cosmetology and Hair-Dressing
  • Cremation
  • Death Certificates
  • Disinterment
  • Dressing/Casketing
  • Embalming (may be required by some funeral parlors)
  • Facilities
  • Funeral Service
  • Graveside Ceremony
  • Hearse
  • Memorial Service
  • Pallbearers
  • Passenger Cars
  • Supervision
  • Topical Disinfection (some funeral parlors may require this if you opt out of embalming)
  • Urns (for cremation)
  • Visitation (typically for traditional funeral services)

Other Helpful Hints to Remember

As you are planning the final remembrance of your loved one, remember to take the time you need to plan. You have rights as a consumer and should not be taken advantage of in your grief and bereavement.

Experts suggest calling a family member or friend to help you through this process. Have a checklist of people and places to notify of your loved one’s passing. Remember that federal laws protect you from unscrupulous behavior from funeral service providerssuch as pressuring you to select certain services or merchandise that is more expensive or charging for anything you didn’t choose, according to the New York Department of Health.

Death is not an easy thing to handle but with resources and support, you will make it through this tough time.


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