The time after a loved one passes is confusing. A will or written instructions make it easier for you to prepare for the funeral and burial service and make any other final wishes the deceased might have wanted. Unfortunately, clear guidance is not always available to those left behind. Use this guide to figure out who should be put and charge and what decisions they'll need to make.

Who Must Make Funeral Decisions?

When funeral and burial wishes are not left in writing, most states have laws regarding who is responsible for making arrangements. Generally, this order will fall to a spouse, children, or parents. If these people aren't available, the nearest next of kin capable of making these decisions is found. Under circumstances when there isn't one available, a close friend or court-appointed public administrator will be put in charge of all the decisions.

What Are the Different Funeral Arrangement Options?

funeralIf you were put in charge of making funeral and burial arrangements for a loved one, your first step should be to meet with a funeral director. They will walk you through each of the options available and help you decide which ones sound like something your spouse or relative would have wanted. 

To begin with, you'll have to decide whether a burial, cremation, or entombment lines up with your loved one's personal, family, and religious beliefs or heritage. Next, you'll go over how to say goodbye. Should this be with a traditional funeral service with a casket or do you prefer to hold a memorial service, where the deceased will not be present? Do you want to have music playing? Will there be clergy present to perform a reading, or will only friends and family members speak about the departed?

Following the funeral service, there are also decisions that need to be made about the burial. Will there be a procession to the cemetery? Is everyone invited, or will this be for close friends and family? Will you place the headstone or grave marker at this time, or will you save this for a later date?


Having funeral plans in place makes decisions regarding your passing much easier on loved ones. The caring professionals at Shirley Brothers Mortuaries & Crematory will help you to make these difficult decisions and ensure your final wishes are carried out appropriately when the time comes. For well over a century, this family-owned funeral home has provided trusted services to the residents of Indianapolis, IN. Visit their website to learn more about their history in the region, and call them today at (317) 897-9606 to start discussing your wishes.