Losing a loved one is extremely difficult, especially when after the loss, you are expected to be the one responsible for planning the funeral service to celebrate your loved one's life. It's a very difficult thing to do in the midst of unspeakable grief. Fortunately, local funeral services are there to guide you through the process. Here are a few tips to help you as you're making your plans.

1. Understand the Finances

Paying for funeral services can be a financial burden on the family of the deceased, especially if the death was unexpected and sudden. It's important to understand the costs involved in a service. The funeral provider must give you an itemized list of the total costs of the service and a good faith estimate of any cash advances. The average price of a funeral service in the United States, not including plot, headstone, and burial fees, is around $6,500.

2. Choose the Right Officiator

You need a person to officiate the funeral who is comfortable with public speaking and who has the skills and organizational leadership to lead the service along smoothly. It's ideal if this person isn't deeply emotionally connected to the deceased because the officiator needs to be able to remain calm. Sometimes it's best if the officiator isn't a member of the family. Funeral directors or clergy often serve well in this function because they have experience with these types of services and can lead them with sensitivity and compassion.

3. Choose the Right Music

Music is the universal language and it can connect and communicate with people in ways that words cannot, no matter how beautiful the eulogy. But music at a funeral doesn't have to be solemn and staid. It should reflect the life of the deceased. Don't be afraid to use music to celebrate the life of your loved one loudly and joyously if that's what they would have wished.

4. Consider Webcasting

It can be helpful to folks that are elderly or immobile if you provide a way to stream the services online. People often feel obligated to attend the funerals of someone they loved, even when the trip could be difficult or even dangerous and compromising. If they have a safe alternative, you can give them the option to still extend their support but in a safer environment. Webcasting can also be helpful for those who live very far away but still want to participate.