New York State Funeral Directors Association

End-of-Life Planning

Many people have thought about what type of funeral they'd like for themselves.

Whether you choose to formally make advance arrangements or not, it is very important to let family and/or friends know what it is you want your funeral to be like. Chances are a lot greater that your wishes will be carried out if people know what those wishes are.

There are several important elements to record to ensure your wishes are carried out: 

Last Will and Testament

  • Contact an attorney to have a will written or make updates to an older one. Be sure family and friends know your attorney's name and where the will is filed.

Cemetery/Cremation Information

  • Record the name of the cemetery or where you would like your cremated remains to be placed, address and phone number; plot number and location; name on plot purchase; and location of deed.

Funeral Home Details

  • Record names of funeral home and funeral director, address and phone number.
  • If pre-arrangements were made, record contract # and location of filed contract.

What type of service chosen?

  • Where is it to be held (church, funeral home, other)?
  • Will it be a military service?
  • Will you have visitation/calling hours?
  • Names of clergy and pallbearers chosen.
  • List selections of music, clothing, flowers, memorials/contributions and any other personal preferences.

Biographical Information

  • The necessary information to record is: full name, address, phone number; years of residency; birth information (city, state/province, date); Social Security Number; full names of father and mother (maiden); marital status and name of spouse; religious and fraternal affiliations; education information; employment history; family members; location of birth and marriage certificates and adoption papers.

Military Service

  • Be sure to locate a copy of the DD-214 (Discharge/Separation Papers) and make record of: branch; date entered and discharged; grade/rank; place of entry; war or conflict; decorations; pension and disability claim numbers; flag requested?; veteran's cemetery marker

Estate Executor

  • Does the executor know of their role? Record their name, address, phone number.

Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Record the location and phone number or the department and list all vehicles registered in your name.

Licensed Firearms

  • List any licensed/registered handguns. Who/where should they go?

Plans for Pets

  • Have you made arrangements for pets/animals?