You've just been notified you are the "surprise" executor of an estate. Depending on your circumstances, it could be an estranged parent, an old lover who never took you off their will or a long lost relative whom you've never meet. Whether you met the deceased years ago or never at all, it can still be hard to plan their funeral services. Let these tips guide you:
1. Find out if the deceased has a pre-need
Before doing any funeral planning, find out if the deceased had a pre-need. A pre-need is when a living person comes to a funeral home, arranges and pays for their funeral. If the deceased has a preneed, it should be noted in their paper work or in their will.
2. Respect the will
Even if the individual did not book a pre-need funeral, his or her will may have information about his or her death wishes. If the will outlines any last wishes, abide by them out of respect. Some of the instructions you may find include preference between cremation and burial or even wishes about which music the deceased wanted played at the funeral.
3. Gain inspiration from their books and belongings
If you cannot find any funeral instructions and you want to give your long lost relative a send off, draw inspiration from the deceased person's books and belongings. If he or she has a lot of religious books, plan a religious funeral. If he or she has lots of natural items, host a funeral at a park or scatter his or her ashes into the wind. Consider selecting poems or readings from his or her books or songs from his or her music collection to read or play at the service.
4. Keep it simple and respectful
Regardless of what you ultimately decided to read or include in the funeral, keep it simple and respectful. Unless you are paying for the funeral, the funds will need to be drawn from the deceased person's estate, and you can keep costs under control by planning a simple or small funeral.
5. Let the funeral director guide you
Whether you are navigating the difficult course of planning a funeral for someone with whom you've lost touch or someone whom you have never meet, look to the funeral director for help. These professionals have planned funerals for everyone from infants to seniors and from close family members to distant relations. They can help you.