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A Guide to Planning a Funeral in Florida

Published: April 30, 2021

Drafting A Will

A Guide to Planning a Funeral in Florida

While death is a topic many people oftentimes avoid, it’s inevitable. When it happens, that immediate period can be overwhelming, more so when you have to begin making funeral arrangements while grieving. Whether for burial or cremation, understanding the send-off process can significantly reduce the mourning family members’ and friends’ burden. For this reason, we prepared a step-by-step guide to plan a funeral in Florida, indicating the activities that go into planning a funeral or memorial service.

Funeral Laws in Florida

Knowing the funeral laws in Florida ensures your funeral planning process goes smoothly and that you abide by the state laws. Here’s what you should know.

  • Death Certificate. Florida Code § 382.008 states you must register a death within five days before burying or cremating the deceased. The funeral home or cremation company will then prepare the death certificate and send it to the medical examiner to certify the document.
  • Embalming. Embalming and refrigeration are only necessary when the loved ones fail to bury the deceased within 24 hours (Florida Statutes § 497.386).
  • Final disposition. There are currently no state laws that bar people from burying their loved ones on private property. The same applies to cremation services.
  • You may choose to store or scatter ashes at your discretion. Note that failure to claim ashes within 120 days gives the cremation organization permission to spread them as per (Florida Statutes § 497.607)

Funeral rule. The Federal Trade Commission’s funeral rule requires funeral providers to state all funeral goods and services’ prices on their general price list (GPL). Consumers may select their desired services under this rule and not as per the provider’s package terms and conditions.

Funeral Planning Checklist

To plan the funeral seamlessly, you’ll need a checklist for the entire funeral process’s activities and logistics.

1. Receive legal death pronouncement

If your loved one were in the hospital or another healthcare facility at the time of death, the staff would handle the death pronouncement. If they died inside their home, you should call 911 to transport your loved one to the hospital for a legal death pronouncement.

2. Inform the relevant parties

You must contact the local authorities if your loved one dies under a mysterious circumstance. You should also notify the family members, friends, current workplace, religious group, and attorney about your loved one’s death.

3. Find out about the deceased existing burial plans

As mentioned earlier, it is rare for loved ones to discuss their funeral wishes. Therefore, you should find out from the attorney whether your loved one left any specific instructions. Also, determine whether the deceased had a final expense policy.

This life insurance is beneficial as it caters to funeral costs, including medical expenses, funeral planning, and legal fees. It is a great plan that prevents loved ones from going into debt.

4. Plan transportation

Typically, the funeral home or director will arrange to transport the body from the hospital to their funeral home for preparation. However, there are times when your loved one dies in a different state from where they chose as a burial site. In that case, arranging transportation will involve other parties.

Your chosen funeral home will need to request a burial transit permit from the local registrar in Florida. This process is straightforward unless the cause of death is under investigation. If your loved one died in Florida but chose a different location for their resting place, it would be best to seek services from a funeral home that carries out funeral transportation.

5. Meet the funeral director

Making funeral arrangements is another crucial step of funeral planning. Here, you’ll have your initial meeting with the funeral director to discuss the funeral or memorial service. The primary reason for this meeting is to provide the funeral home with your loved one’s information. It would be best if you, therefore, carried the following items.

  • All clothing that you wish your loved one to wear during the funeral service
  • The deceased photograph
  • Biographical data such as full name, physician’s name, social security number, education, and work history, including military service
  • You’ll require other documentation such as cemetery paperwork, military discharge papers, and final expense policies.

During this meeting, you’ll need to inform the funeral director about the funeral services you seek for your loved one.

Burial type

What was your loved one’s choice of final disposition? Or what burial option did you and the other family members agree to follow? If you’ve never planned a burial before, here are the primary disposition forms.

  • Traditional funeral. This burial type has until recently been the most common send-off form. It involves a visitation, a memorial service, transporting the body to the burial site, and finally burying or cremating. You should expect to pay for a burial vault, a cemetery plot, a headstone, and a casket for this option.
  • Green burial. More people are growing conscious of our planet’s health. As a result, your loved one may have asked for a natural funeral, i.e., no casket or preservation chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
  • Cremation. This option involves turning your loved one’s body into ashes through burning. You may then choose to store the remains in urns, cremation jewelry, or keepsakes.


6. Set out the funeral service program

We wouldn’t call this a complete guide to plan a funeral in Florida if we failed to mention the funeral service arrangements. Personalizing the funeral service is a way to celebrate your loved ones while also honoring them. Traditionally, most people would opt for a religious service. Things have changed, and some people now favor non-church services.

If it’s the former, you’ll need to make arrangements for the following:

  • Readings such as bible passages
  • Officiant
  • Pallbearers
  • Eulogists

Other service elements to consider are food and beverages, music, and webcasting. Remember, due to the current pandemic, you may have to conduct a virtual service.

Therefore, recording the service would make it accessible for those not present. Also, while traditional burials allowed for visitation, the present crisis makes it challenging. It would be best to consult the funeral director on Florida’s COVID guidelines.

Once this is complete, the only things left to do would be to find out existing burial benefits such as veteran benefits, obtain a burial permit, set a date for the funeral service then send invitations, in this case, virtual ones.

In Summary

Using this guide to planning a funeral in Florida ensures you don’t miss any vital planning steps and that you don’t feel overwhelmed at any point of the funeral planning process. While it can be a complex topic to discuss, funeral pre-planning is ideal for reducing the uncertainty for when you or your loved one dies. Ready to begin funeral planning in Florida? Reach out to Holloway Funeral Homes today!

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