The Women's Journal

50 Things That Must Be Done: On The Most Difficult Day Of Your Life.

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William_King_spicer_mullikin_sqBy William E. King

When a death occurs many emotions will surface making even simple decisions very complicated.  Below is a list of many items that need to be addressed. Pre-planning can have answers on file and at your family’s fingertips when needed.


1. The doctor, medical examiner, or hospice

2. The funeral home

3. The cemetery or memorial park

4. The minister and church

5. All the relatives

6. All the friends

Employers of those who will
miss work

8. Organist, singer, or other musician

9. Pallbearers

10. Insurance agents

11. Unions and fraternal organizations

12. Newspapers


13. A cemetery and cemetery lot

14. Casket or cremation urn

15. Vault or outer burial container

16. Clothing for deceased

17. Funeral arrangement time

18. Place of service

19. Time of service

20. Flowers

21. Music

22. Register book

23. Acknowledgement cards

24. Pictures or mementos to be displayed

25. Transportation


26. Providing vital statistics and obituary information

27. Preparing and signing necessary papers

28. Compiling addresses for all interested parties who must be notified

29. Meeting with family about details


30. Answering sympathetic phone calls and messages

31. Greeting friends and relatives who visit

32. Providing or securing lodging for out-of-town guests

33. Cleaning and preparing home for guests

34. Hiring caterer or finding location for funeral meal


35. Doctor fees

36. Nurse fees

37. Hospital fees

38. Medicine and medical equipment costs

39. Funeral costs

40. Cemetery lot charge

41. Interment charge

42. Minister honorarium

43. Organist, singer, or other musician honorarium

44. Florist charges

45. Clothing/dry cleaning costs

46. Transportation/airline costs

47. Crematory fees

48. Food/catering costs

49. Grave marker and engraving

50. Attorney fees for estate

Your local funeral director can assist you in making the decisions you want and making them known to the family at the time of need. This will save the family from guessing what kind of arrangements you would have chosen. The whole family will appreciate any pre-planning.


“When my husband passed away, we had his services at Spicer Mullikin Funeral Home. In the midst of our grief, we found the people at the funeral home to be considerate and thoughtful of our feelings. They went out of their way to make sure everything we wanted done was accomplished and even had things available for our family that we had not even considered, never having had to make these decisions before. Afterward, I felt planning my own funeral in advance would be “a gift” I could give my family to make, hopefully, my passing a little easier for them. Spicer Mullikin  was there with helpful suggestions and I found the whole process quite rewarding and I am confident that my wishes will be carried out.”      ~ Pat H.

“After both my husband and my mother had died, I realized that there was no one left to carry out my wishes regarding my own funeral arrangements when the time came. It seemed to me to be the practical thing to do along with creating a will and writing an advanced health care directive. Bill guided me through the process step by step, asking me the kinds of questions that I would not have thought of on my own.  I have been asked if making pre-arrangements for my own funeral was morbid; it was most decidedly not. It has given me peace of mind, knowing that my wishes will be followed and that no one has to guess at what I wanted.  Over the years as the circumstances of my life have changed, I have updated the arrangements. Being able to do that, too, has been comforting and left me worry-free.” ~ Tanya L.

William E. King is a funeral director at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes. Bill is the Advanced Planning Manager and has 20 years of experience in the funeral industry. He received a BA from Loyola College Baltimore and later a Mortuary Science degree from the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville.