From a Funeral Director: Making Funeral Arrangements From a Distance

    February 6, 2014 1 Comment

Mark Bollinger of Bollinger Funeral Home

When an out-of-town loved one passes away, making funeral arrangements may be complicated. Funeral director, Mark Bollinger provides his advice on making funeral arrangements from a distance.

What do you do when an out-of-town loved one passes away? Below are some tips for making funeral arrangements from a distance.

In order to help funeral planners with the question of how to make funeral arrangements from a distance, the type of situation must be taken into consideration first.  Let’s look at a few scenarios:

  1. Making funeral arrangements from a distance when a loved one dies out-of-town and there is going to be some type of funeral service/visitation where the death occurs 
    The best way to handle this situation is to work with a funeral home where the death occurs.  All of the funeral arrangements can be completed with this out-of-town funeral home.  They will arrange for the deceased to be transported from the place of death to the funeral home, and the funeral home will prepare the deceased for the services.  They will provide the casket and will arrange for the necessary transportation of the deceased to the final destination.  If the funeral planners do choose to have the deceased transported or “forwarded” to another funeral home, the “receiving” funeral home can make the arrangements with the cemetery, provide the burial vault, and handle any other details for the services there.  Many times, a floral arrangement can accompany the casket depending on the mode of transportation from the out-of-town, forwarding funeral home to the local, receiving funeral home.
  2. Making funeral arrangements from a distance when a loved one dies out-of-town and there is NOT going to be a funeral service/visitation in the town of death
    The best course of action is to contact the receiving funeral home – that is the funeral home that will be conducting the services and handling all of the disposition arrangements.  This funeral home can then contact a funeral home in the town of your loved one’s death or transportation service to handle the transportation and preparation details.  This will save the funeral planner the most amount of money  - by not contacting an out-of-town funeral home directly, the receiving funeral home will make all the arrangements and will handle all details of the funeral.
  3. Making funeral arrangements from a distance when a loved one dies out-of-town and the deceased is going to be cremated without a funeral service or visitation
    If the deceased belonged to a Memorial Society, then that society should be contacted.  If not, it is usually best to have a funeral home in the area where the deceased passed handle all the arrangements.  What I am saying here is that there usually is no reason to have the deceased transported out-of-town or some far distance to be cremated.  It is more economical to have the cremation take place where the death occurs and then transport the urn or cremated remains to the out-of-town relative.

These are three common situations where an out-of-town funeral home is used.  Although generally speaking, these are good suggestions, there certainly are other situations or extenuating circumstances that could dictate changes in this protocol.

This article is part of the eFuneral Resource Center and was written by Mark Bollinger, a third-generation funeral director and embalmer for Bollinger Funeral Goods and Services. Mark served as President of the Cuyahoga County Funeral Directors Association and the Greater Cleveland Cemetery Association. Those thinking about end-of-life should visit for help researching, planning, and arranging a wide variety of funeral-related services.

  • John Mike

    Thanks for the post.. Yes, this is one of the thing that should be manage when you are out of town.

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