Questions…Not Everyone Likes to Ask

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 04, 2010 with No Comments

by Daniel Moran, GM, Calumet Park Cemetery

If you have questions regarding cemetery or funeral arrangements, email me at  and I will do my best to get you an answer, or to point you in the right direction.  Below are three of questions received from Chronicle readers.

Q.  My parents live in Florida, but they are going to be buried at Calumet Park.  If they die in Florida, what do I do?      – Sue J. of Hobart

A.  If you plan to have a funeral service in Florida, you will need to use a Florida funeral home, with normal prices charged by that institution.   In addition to those expenses, there would be the additional cost of a special type of container required by the airlines that the casket will have to be placed in, along with the costs of the airfare to get them from the funeral home in Florida to the funeral home you select for a service up here.  However, if you do not plan to have a funeral service down south, there are companies that can pick the decedent up, embalm (must embalm for air transport), do all the paperwork in Florida for you, get them to the airport and ship to your funeral home of choice.  Going this route is far less expensive.  We at Calumet Park primarily use Inman Shipping (1-800-321-0566) to fill this need.  Reputable funeral homes do not add on to their charges, and you can call them directly for more information.  Any funeral home will be happy to assist with this challenge.  If you have other questions concerning out of state deaths, call Sherry Williams at (219) 736-5840.

Q.  Why do I need certified copies of a death certificate, and how much do they cost?  – Joseph O. of Portage 

A. Currently, most counties charge around $8 – $10 for each certified copy of a death certificate.  Generally speaking, a certified copy of a death certificate might be needed to transfer stocks and bonds, for life insurance claims, to make certain that the death benefit can be authorized, and for banking transactions.  Depending on the institutions and inheritance laws, you may need death certificates to transfer or sell deeded property, vehicles and other items where legal ownership must be established.  It is best to ask each entity that holds mortgages and uses collateral to back a purchase what exactly they need to help you settle an estate.  Some will accept copies of death certificates.  The reason that some entities require a certified copy is because it is so easy to create your own forms and forge signatures on one’s home computer.  Insurance companies, in particular, need to know that the cause of death does not conflict with the terms under which they are obligated to pay out on a death benefit.

Q.  I have noticed that there are a couple of casket stores in the area, and even Wal-Mart is offering caskets.  Why should I buy my casket from a funeral home instead of one of these other places?      – Millie M. of Valpo.

 A.  Simply put, you can buy from anywhere you want to, and funeral homes are not permitted to add on a service or handling charge.  There are some drawbacks to purchasing from a place other than your chosen funeral home.  The biggest drawback is whether or not the casket will be delivered when needed, and that the casket that you purchased is actually the one that will be delivered.  It is not the responsibility of the funeral director to make calls and chase after a casket that was not purchased from them.  If it is not delivered in time for your announced visitation, the visitation will not happen as planned … period. Check with your chosen funeral home to find out their policy when purchasing from an outside vendor. 

Preplanning with your funeral home ensures that the casket selected is the casket that will be there, when needed, with the price frozen the minute you signed the pre-need agreement.  Buying from a third party vendor may result in a dented or scratched casket being delivered and little or no time to do anything about it.  Buying from non-funeral home companies is usually done at the time of need and for a good reason.  If you buy in advance, say today for a funeral that is going to happen 10 years from now, you may have a problem when you call your  casket store in 2020 and want a casket delivered due to a death and the phone is answered “Luigi’s Pizza”.   The alternative is to buy from them and have it delivered to your house and you will bring the casket to the funeral home yourself when it is needed.  

So, yes, you can buy from whomever you want, but you better be real sure of warranties and their ability to deliver when needed.  Consider the thought of having just lost an important person in your life, and then going to the discount casket outlet to try and pick out a casket.  It can be done, but is this what you will want to do on such an already difficult day? 

A funeral director will work with you and your family.  They truly care about making this difficult time go as smoothly as possible, and it is their work that makes a final goodbye a warm and fond time of remembering.  Most funeral directors are able to empathize and serve you to meet your needs.  A casket is part of the overall experience, and yes, funeral directors do make a small profit by selling you a casket.  It is important to keep in mind, though, that if they do not make a profit, they cannot keep their doors open, and they then cannot serve your family’s future needs.

Not all of us will be blessed with a peaceful death.  It is the work of your funeral director that makes it possible for you to have a final goodbye of your loved one lying at peace in a casket.  Funeral directors restore accident victims and people that died due to all sorts of horrible deaths to a state of peace. 

There are over 30 very good funeral homes in this region.  Many people feel that they need to go to one in their town, and if your family has been served with care and at a fair price in the past, we recommend you continue to follow suit.  However, if your loved one is going to be taken from Hobart or Valparaiso or Chesterton or Portage or wherever, and brought to Calumet Park Cemetery for burial, consider calling Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 736-5840, as many people find that it is more convenient to have the funeral and burial all at once place.  Calumet Park will handle funerals regardless of what local cemetery is to be used for final placement.    


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