Assess religious traditions and customs

Regardless of whether the deceased was a religious person, final disposition and funeral services are often guided by religious customs and traditions.

These historical practices can help a devout person fulfill a religious obligation, and help a secular person with a structure and processes without being overtly religious.

As a result, it's important to review the deceased's wishes. If instructions have been left, they would be found in their last will and testament.

If instructions are not listed in their will, they may be implied in a funeral trust, because of the arrangement with a particular funeral services provider (the provider may have a religious affiliation).

If no instructions have been left, the surviving family will need to make these decisions. It's best to speak honestly and freely to identify the best approach, as there is no law which states who can or cannot make this decision.

To help decide what religious traditions and customs are best suited for the deceased, review the funeral traditions of religious groups below.

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Funeral traditions of different religions

While religious customs and traditions have historically guided the end-of-life process, there are many options for atheists or non-denominational families who prefer to not include religion included in their services.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information about planning a funeral without religious traditions, see the "Funeral planning" section of the Guide.


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