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Making Arrangements

If someone close to you died today, you should read the following information in order to gain a better understanding of the alternatives available and the decisions you will be making.

Our goal is to provide dignified care for the deceased person and at the same time to assist you in arranging an appropriate disposition of that person as well as a sensitive and comforting celebration of a life according to your individual needs.


    1. Disposition and Service Details: Disposition of the deceased can be by burial, cremation, burial in a mausoleum or columbarium or by the donation to a medical facility

      Disposition Alternatives
      Burial Cremation Donation
      cemetery
      mausoleum
      burial in cemetery
      columbarium scattering
      to a medical institution

      Service: If your decision is to have some type of memorial with burial, cremation or donation then there are several decisions that are important. You will decide the type and place for the ceremony and if it will be public or private. Ceremonies can be conducted at your church, the funeral home, the graveside, or many other public and private places.

      Funeral/Memorial Alternatives
      Burial Service Cremation Services Donation Services
      Complete services Visitation & Services Visitation & services
      Limited services Private view & service Private view & service
      Graveside service Private viewing only Private viewing only
      Direct burial Memorial service Memorial service
        Direct cremation Direct donation

      A funeral or memorial service can be public or private.  It can be either before or after the disposition.


    2. Gather Life Information and Statistics:   One important step in making arrangements is gathering the life information and statistics about the deceased person. This information will be used to complete the death certificate and the obituary.

      Statistics:  The DEATH CERTIFICATE is the original legal document that you will need regarding the person who has died. When, where, and how the death occurred and other historical and statistical information are required by state government. The official document will be filed with the Palo Alto County Recorder and ultimately with the Iowa Bureau of Vital Records.

      Click Here> see a Iowa Death Certificate Form

      Life Information: This includes the OBITUARY & other media announcements.   The obituary consists of life information as well names of family survivors and is presented in paragraph form. 

      In our community, radio or televisions normally do not announce a death or service unless the person has served the community in a public capacity.


    3. Select the Funeral Products:  You need to decide which funeral products are appropriate for you. Some are desired and required. Some are neither desired nor required. At Harris Funeral Services these products may include a casket, burial vault and flowers.

      Click Here> to see and print funeral product information