Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?

A funeral or memorial is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are held for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. They also give mourners a chance to share stories, create memories, fulfill religious beliefs & customs, participate in a support system, and gather at a peaceful place during a time of confusion and uncertainty.

What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?

tasks when planning a funeral. Many of them are listed below. Our Funeral Director will coordinate most of these for you, after meeting with you at a private consultation.

  • Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred.
  • Ensure compliance with government regulators
  • Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town)
  • Obtain family history
  • Make decisions regarding the remains of the deceased
  • Determine the budget (if funeral has not been pre-arranged)
  • Determine the funeral or memorial service location(s), such as church, chapel, or graveside
  • Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket
  • Choose the final resting place (cemetery, mausoleum, private land, etc.)
  • Make necessary arrangements with clergy, church and cemetery officials
  • Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary
  • Procure the burial permit and file with the cemetery
  • Select and purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn
  • Select a monument/marker
  • Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise
  • Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices
  • Choose clothing & jewelry
  • Select poems, scripture, readings
  • Select music: taped, live musicians, etc.
  • Choose pallbearers
  • Arrange for transportation of the deceased
  • Secure flower/equipment trucks, as necessary
  • Purchase acknowledgment cards, register books, memorial folders, etc.
  • Purchase a door wreath & flowers
  • Arrange for family transportation
  • Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits
  • Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)
  • Secure life insurance benefits (if applicable)
  • Contact insurance agents
  • Complete accounting, clerical and filing work
  • Answer telephone calls
  • Notify other organizations that your loved one participated in
  • Deliver flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals etc. following the funeral

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, and can recommend sources of professional help.

Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?

Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow worshippers, neighbors & acquaintances, and in some cases, the greater community.

What costs are associated with funerals?

The cost of a funeral includes all the services of a funeral director and the funeral home staff, transportation, merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and other services and fees associated with the funeral or memorial service. In general, funeral homes make only a modest profit. We have included our General Price List on our web site for your convenience.

Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?

In addition to family, there are veteran, union, and other organizations that provide benefits to pay for funerals. In some cases this may include, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowance is available from the state, county, or city. Sometimes these allowances can be combined. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them.






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Thank you so much for all the things big and small that you provided during our loss. You will always be special in our lives.

The Hale Family

Harris Funeral Home is the best in this area. I buried my son and Harris Funeral Home showed me so much comfort and support.

The Family of Jeffery Lyles, Jr.

Harris Funeral Home is number one in my book. They did not just put anything on us, they gave us many choices. We give you your flowers right now.

The Family of Mary Summers

Love the way you reach out to people, showed a lot of love and support. You really went through all the details, including ways to meet our budget when making arrangements

Family of Loreon Doolittle

This is one of the most difficult things a family has to deal with, and the services provided by Harris Funeral Home were very instrumental in helping us get through this difficult time.

The Core Family

Excellent; outstanding services provided.

The Family of Michael Scott

This was our 2nd funeral in a month; the services were very personal and caring. Harris Funeral Home provided many small but meaningful extras

The Family of Joseph Culpepper

Everything was done to make it easy for the family to do what they needed to do during the passing of our loved one. Thanks for all you do for this community, To God be the glory!

The Family of Malene Fergerson

Jeffery Harris was very sensitive and helpful to us in the loss of our mother. His attention to detail for our mother’s funeral service was outstanding

The Family of Merion Smith

My family will always be grateful for the love shown by Jeff, Ramon and the staff of Harris Funereal Home during the passing of my loved one.

The Edwards Family



515 South 6th Street Opelika, AL 36801 | TEL: 334-749-6583 | FAX: 334-749-6587

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