Resources after Loss

Resources after donation

The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult life experiences that we all go through.  As you and your family experience this now, you are likely to have questions, seek resources and support, or seek more information to better manage what comes next as you grieve.

This page is to provide you with information, resources and answers to questions that families often have about Gift of Hope and what comes next.

In addition: Our Donor Family Services Team is here for you. Reach out to us any time at donorfamilies@giftofhope.org, or (877) 577-3747.

More information about donation and Gift of Hope

Many donor families seek to understand even more about our work with organ and tissue donation following their loved one’s donation.

  • Memorial contributions: While making service arrangements, some families kindly ask that memorial gifts and contributions in their loved one’s name are directed to Gift of Hope. You can find information here about how to direct these generous contributions to the Gift of Hope Community Foundation.
  • Contact and outcome information: Our Donor Family Services Aftercare Specialists will be in contact with you in the two weeks following your loss, for any questions or support we can provide.  Six weeks following your loved one’s donation, you will receive a letter from us with all information on the outcome as well as information on recipients and how they are doing.

Making funeral arrangements

Gift of Hope will coordinate closely with the funeral home your family may have selected to manage your loved one’s arrangements and services. This is to ensure everyone is aware of timing, and we can provide donor family pins and Gift of Hope bracelets for the service should your family request them.

Many donor families share these bracelets and pins to celebrate the gift of hope their loved one gave to others, as part of honoring their life and legacy at memorial services.

Funeral costs vary widely, as you may know. The law requires funeral directors to provide pricing information over the telephone, and many offer general information about costs on their websites.

Obtaining a death certificate

Certified death certificates are important documents that you will need to file for life insurance benefits, transfer or close bank accounts and credit cards, transfer home or auto property titles, and handle other responsibilities.

Because costs are involved with obtaining a death certificate, think through the legal and financial reasons you may need certificates and order them all at once to avoid additional fees. You also may want to order a few more than you think you might need, just in case.

To obtain a death certificate, speak with the funeral director managing your loved one’s services. You can also obtain a death certificate through the appropriate state agency:

Funeral and burial assistance

Affording funeral costs can be a concern.  The federal, state, religious and other charity resources below are a few of the 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, military veteran or member of a fraternity or sorority, or other organization, assistance programs may be available through their membership.

Assistance in covering funeral, burial and cremation expenses for a loved one who was an organ donor may also be available through the Tristan Scott Foundation. Tristan’s family established the foundation in 2016 to support Gift of Hope organ donor families in need. Click here to review and complete the grant application.

Faith-based resources

Faith-based organizations may provide financial support contributing the burial of congregation members, in addition to other support. Several such organizations are:

Transportation of remains to another state or country

Some families wish to return the body of their deceased loved one to another state or country for burial. Transporting human remains a complex process involving state, federal and international laws, and can be quite expensive, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $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.

When a death investigation is involved

Families often have questions regarding their loved one’s eligibility to donate once the medical examiner or coroner’s office is involved. We developed this resource guide to help answer your questions.

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.

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. 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.

Please reach out to us at donorfamilies@giftofhope.org, or (877) 577-3747.

In addition to Gift of Hope, a number of agencies provide support and resources specifically for the families of organ, eye and tissue donors.  A few of these organizations include:

If your loved one was a cornea and eye tissue donor, support and information related to your loved one’s donation is offered through the eye bank that worked with you and your family:

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