The death of a special person is often unexpected. Knowing what to do next, and where to find support and information, can help make a difficult time just a little easier.

Final Arrangements

Funeral costs vary widely based upon the desires of the decedent and his or her family. All funeral directors are required by law to provide pricing information over the telephone, and many offer general information about cost on their websites.

Certified Death Certificates are important documents that you will need to complete a variety of post mortem tasks, such as: file for life insurance benefits, transfer or close bank accounts and credit cards, and transfer home or auto property titles. Death certificates can be obtained at the funeral home, or by contacting the appropriate state agency; in Illinois, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, in Indiana, contact the Indiana State Department of Health. There are costs associated with requesting death certificates. It’s a good idea to think about all the legal and financial reasons you may need a death certificate, and order them all at the same time to avoid additional processing fees down the road. It’s also a good idea to order a few more than you think you might need, just in case.

One of the most common fears families experience when facing the loss of a loved one is whether they can afford funeral and burial arrangements. The following list of federal, state, religious and other charity resources are examples of programs and services that may provide financial assistance with funeral, burial and/or cremation assistance. If your loved one was a police officer, fire fighter, teacher, member of a fraternity or sorority, or other organization, there may also be assistance programs available through their membership.

Whole Body Donation

Whole body donation is another way in which your loved one can leave a meaningful legacy to humanity through medical education and research. In most cases, whole body donation includes complimentary cremation and return of remains within a few weeks following the death.

Whole Body Donation Programs by State
Science Care
Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois
Indiana University School of Medicine

Transportation of Remains

On occasion, families may wish to return the body of their deceased loved one to another state or country for burial. Transporting human remains is a complex process involving state, federal and international laws, and can be quite expensive; ranging anywhere from $1000-$20,000 or more. Your funeral director can help guide you on how to arrange these services. Most airlines also have programs to assist with shipping remains. Embassies and Consulates of the country you wish to transport remains to may also be helpful.  The following list of resources may be helpful in getting more information to assist you with transportation issues.

International Mortuary Shipping
National Funeral Directors Association
U.S Embassy and Consulate in Mexico
Mexican Embassy/Consulate General – Chicago

Death Investigation

Families may have many questions regarding their loved one’s eligibility to donate once the coroner’s office is involved. Is organ and tissue donation possible? Will it interfere with an autopsy? Gift of Hope has developed resource guides to answer all your questions.

Death Investigation Facts 

Grief, Bereavement and Mental Health Resources

Donation is a meaningful end-of-life decision that can help ease grief and bereavement following the loss of a loved one. While donation helps transform tragedy into triumph, there are still painful and tender moments along the way. You are not alone; Gift of Hope Aftercare Specialists are here to guide and support you every step of your journey as you learn to live without your very special person. We can be reached at:, or by calling (877) 577-3747.

Gift of Hope has teamed up with to make it easy to become an organ and tissue donor. Visit to join the registry today.

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