Virtual Funeral Arrangements: What You Need To Know

Categories: Bereavement, Caregiving Moments

Virtual Funeral Arrangements: What you need to know

The coronavirus pandemic has created many new normals for funeral services. With travel restrictions and social distancing, having virtual options available is necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set funeral guidelines to help us understand the rules and regulations for physical gatherings. However, it’s essential to broadcast the funeral virtually so everyone can still attend, physically or not.

Planning a virtually accessible funeral

bench in field

Funeral planning begins by communicating with the funeral home director and/or mortician to discuss traditional burial or cremation. This decision will ultimately dictate the overall schedule of the services. Then, discuss the capacity at their facility, because it will likely be lower than usual. The facility’s capacity during COVID-19 will vary by funeral home and state. From here, you can work with the funeral director on streaming options for your virtual attendees. If the funeral home doesn’t have options available, you may need to set it up yourself.

Setting up virtual streaming is relatively easy to do. With video conferencing platforms on the rise, there are many different options available, one being Zoom. You’ll need a laptop with a web camera and wireless internet. Start by making a profile, which will then allow you to create a video call link. Once you have the link, you can send it to friends and family who can’t attend. On the day of the services, place the computer in a central location for the optimal view. Another option is utilizing Facebook Live. For this, you only need a designated person to record the services for anyone to watch from their device.

Establish a virtually-friendly funeral schedule

Even with a virtual funeral, you will still follow a typical funeral service schedule for those who will attend in person. While it is optional, most services start with the viewing or wake. The viewing is for family members to say goodbye to their loved one and for friends to pay their respects. It’s not uncommon for more people to attend the viewing than the actual funeral service, making the viewing harder to navigate than the funeral given pandemic restrictions. To make it accessible for people, ensure the funeral home address is available where you showcase the streaming link. This way, they can easily view the services and send a card to the family.

Next is the funeral service, which is much more personal than the viewing. Start by making sure someone is responsible for taking the computer or smartphone device from one event to the next. Whatever streaming service you choose, have it ready in a centralized location for the ceremony, too. The services will likely consist of an introduction from the officiant, several readings, memories read from family members, songs, a conclusion, and the recessional by pallbearers. Immediately following the services, the family may go to the gravesite. This is where there will be a final goodbye with a short service. Again, have your designated person in place to share with the virtual audience. The casket will be lowered into the ground, or an urn will be placed in a mausoleum. Lastly, there is sometimes a post-funeral gathering. Given the times, it might be a small dinner with close family members, where you can continue the video conference for everyone to be together.

Financing the virtual funeral

It’s no secret that funerals are expensive. Primary funeral expenses are established as usual, even with attendance down. With that said, there aren’t always savings or life insurance policies to rely on, especially if the funeral is unexpected. One way to get the necessary funds in a timely manner is by looking into personal loan options to cover funeral costs. With this option, you can efficiently get a sum of money and focus your energy on planning the funeral details. Another financing option you can look into is crowdfunding. You can set up an online fund on a crowdfunding site for individuals to donate money to help cover the funeral costs. Lastly, depending on your credit limit, you could also use a credit card to pay the funeral home and other vendors.

It’s important to explore all financing options when planning a funeral. While your loved one might have funds for their funeral available, it usually takes some time for you to have access to them. Typically, life insurance companies won’t pay the death benefit until they have an original copy of the death certificate, which can take several weeks to secure. Contrarily, inheritance funds from your loved one’s estate may take up to a year for payout. Therefore, it’s likely you will need to front the money for the funeral expenses.


Many aspects go into funeral services and making it virtually accessible adds to it. Get help and focus on the most important things you hope to include to honor your loved one. Physically there or not, the deceased will still get the celebration they deserve, just in a slightly different way.



covid-19, funeral, funeral planning, pandemic, video conferencing, virtual funeral
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