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Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

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About Our Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a thorough list of frequently asked questions when people start thinking about cemetery and funeral arrangements.  It is not all inclusive but it is a way for families to be more prepared when they meet with a funeral director or a cemeterian.  It would absolutely benefit anyone in charge of making cemetery and funeral arrangements to read through the questions and see the simplified answers to what can often be complex issues.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Calumet Park Cemetery still privately owned?

Yes.  It was founded in 1928 and has always been owned and operated by the same families.  As of 2019, the third generation of the founders continue to own and operate the cemetery.

When does the cemetery open and close? What are the hours of the cemetery?

Calumet Park is an open cemetery.  There are no gates and no official hours.  You can visit whenever you want to or feel a need to be near your loved one.  The mausoleum is open from 7:30-4:30 all year long.  The cemetery office is open from 8:30 – 4:30 Monday through Friday and from 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays.  No Calumet Park Cemetery personnel works on Sundays except by appointment.  Sunday is the Lord’s day and is a day of rest.

Does Calumet Park own any funeral homes?

Yes.  Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart and Rendina Funeral Home in Gary.

How big is Calumet Park Cemetery and will we run out of space?

Calumet Park Cemetery has over 400 acres of land with approximately 170 acres developed.  To put this in perspective, approximately 1100 burials could be made per acre of land which means that we have grave space for over 250,000 additional graves when all acres are developed. 

Since 1929 we have interred over 50,000 people.  Since there is nothing to suggest that we will not continue at the same pace, that means that we have space for the next 450 plus years.  And that does not count the thousands of graves available on the developed part of the cemetery, nor does it count going up.  By going up is meant above ground final placements in mausoleums and niches for cremations.

Do you have green burials?

Calumet Park Cemetery has a section prepared and ready for green burials.  It is our Back to Nature section with each grave measured at 5’ x 10’.  The graves would be dug by hand whenever conditions allow.  It is preferred that the remains be placed in a biodegradable container, whether a straw type casket or basic wood.  Although there has been little interest to date for green burials in this part of the country, we have had the foresight to have a section surveyed and ready for use at your command.

Does Calumet Park have any price guaranties?

Yes, for merchandise such as markers, monuments, caskets and vaults.  There are no price guaranties on funeral services at this time due to FTC questions.  Our prices are very competitive.  However, if you can find a better price for equal quality products, we will match the price if you bring us a legitimate quote from the competitor on their letterhead.  All things being equal, it is always better to buy from your cemetery or funeral home as we are not going to go out of business and will always be here to offer you outstanding service.  Note:  markers and monuments must be installed by Calumet Park personnel and regardless of where you buy these items and you will still have to pay the same installation charges and application fees.

Does Calumet Park have senior discounts?

Senior discounts are being considered at this time.  It is best to inquire when you start to consider making final arrangements for the latest decisions in this regard.

Who do I call when a death occurs?

When death is at home or not in a medical institution – under hospice care, call your hospice nurse.  When not under hospice care, or outside of a medical institution, it is necessary to call the police at 911.  When a death occurs in a nursing home or hospital, the medical staff will take care of all the necessary steps.  All you would need to do is notify the staff that you would like us to handle the arrangements so they can have you sign any necessary paperwork to remove your loved one to the funeral home.  When death occurs out of state, please call us first so we can coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death.  There is a way to save you a great deal of money, depending on your needs, that Calumet Park can help you with.  Please call us with your questions.

What if a death occurs out of the country?

We can help you arrange travel insurance that is an inexpensive plan that returns your loved one to Calumet Park or Rendina whenever a death occurs 100 miles or more from your place of permanent residence, in or out of the country.  If you do a lot of traveling it might be worth looking into this plan.

Why is it necessary to come to the cemetery office to sign the interment / entombment / inurnment order?

It is necessary to come to the cemetery office to verify the correct location to be used for the final disposition, or in the event that there is more than one space available, to designate the space to be used.  It is not only necessary to come to the office to make these assignments, but it is also necessary to go to the physical location of the grave or crypt or niche to ensure the correct location will be prepared for final placement of a loved one.

Why do I need to have an outer burial container, either a simple basic grave liner or a vault?

Calumet Park Cemetery requires that all caskets be placed in a permanent outer burial container as a protection against future grave settling.  Over a long period of time, with years of rainfall, cemetery maintenance equipment passing over the grave, and the deterioration of the casket that may take place, depending on the type of casket selected, along with the weight of the earth above the casket, the ground will cave in.  This event would cause a cemetery maintenance nightmare, huge esthetic challenges, and emotional pain for the family to know that their grave “caved in” on their loved one.  Calumet Park also requires an outer container for the interment of cremains (ashes) or a MacKenzie combination urn/vault (or comparable container that with withstand 5000 pounds of pressure per square foot).  Aside from the practical reasons for requiring outer containers mentioned above, it is Calumet Park’s commitment to families served that if they ever wish to have cremains or caskets disinterred to be moved to another location in Calumet Park or elsewhere, that we will be able to return the entire mortal remains or cremains as much as is humanly possible.  Note:  there is not a law to have an outer container but the law allows a cemetery to require one if they deem it fits their business model of serving families.

Do you allow burials on Sunday? Why does the funeral committal service need to be arranged prior to 1:00 during the week and earlier on Saturdays?

Depending on availability of staff and equipment, there are times that a Sunday burial or an afternoon burial during the week is allowed.  Calumet Park does close to six hundred burials a year.  Some days (rare) there are no burials and some there are requests for more than can be handled by the ground’s crew.  We have no control over when deaths occur which means scheduling is unpredictable.  We do our best to meet your needs.  All area funeral directors receive a reminder letter in December regarding our 36-hour notice for burials so they can advise families of our cemetery rules.  Any burial requests that do not fall into our standard operating procedures should be brought to the attention of management and we will do all that is possible to help you during your time of need.  However, there are times that no means no.  For instance, if you wanted your funeral visitation to be at a particular time and date and your funeral home was already booked for that time and date, his answer would have to be no.  You could go to another funeral home possibly, but usually a family will work together with their funeral director, their cemetery, their clergy, the vet’s groups for military honors etc. and together the experience will be handled with care and concern.

What is the difference between a funeral service and a committal service?

A funeral service takes place at a funeral home where people gather for visitation and viewing.  A committal service takes place at the cemetery and is the committing of a loved one to a final resting place; grave, mausoleum crypt, niche or columbarium.  At the cemetery, a committal service normally is done at the grave with a tent set-up if weather permits.  When the committal service is for a mausoleum entombment, the committal service takes place in one of our two mausoleum chapels.  There are some people that prefer a committal service to take place in a mausoleum chapel even though the loved one will be interred in a grave.  When this is a family’s choice for a committal service, the family and friends would be dismissed and the casket will be taken to the grave and buried without ceremony at the grave.

What do I need to bring when I come in to sign for a burial?

It is always best to bring all paperwork that contains information on cemetery property, funeral services, POA’s and wills and any other written proof that you have the right to open a grave and a right of final disposition of one’s mortal remains.  There is a definite legal hierarchy for who has what rights to dispose of human remains that must be followed that is set by the State of Indiana, and the laws periodically change.  It is best to bring all of your documentation in to be evaluated as to who has the right to do what to allow your Family Service Counselor to help you in your goal to expedite a burial in accordance with the laws and cemetery rules in effect at your time of need.  If the decedent is or was a veteran, Calumet Park has a special veteran program that is triggered with proof of an honorable discharge (DD214 or equivalent).  In particular, cremations are extremely regulated by both the state and by Calumet Park since the process is irreversible.  Check with one of our funeral directors or a Family Service Counselor with cremation questions.

What do I need a death certificate for?

Death certificates (sometimes copies and sometimes originals) are needed to settle a person’s estate which may include insurance claims, veteran claims, social security benefits, any property that has deeds or titles such as houses, cars, and boats, stocks and bonds, safe deposit boxes and bank accounts, trusts, credit cards and loans in the name of the decedent, 401K and other retirement accounts pensions.  They are secured for you by your funeral director.  If you discover that you need more than originally requested, see your funeral director for re-orders.

Where do I get more death certificates?

You can go directly to the health department for the town the decedent resided in prior to passing to get more death certificates.  The easier way is to see your funeral director who will help you attain as many as you may need at the price charged by the health department on the day of pick-up

What do I do in the case of an infant death?

A hospital should explain your rights regarding what to do with the remains of the death of an infant, premature or full term.  Calumet Park will be able to assist you with dignified and caring final arrangements at no cost to your family.  There are a number of details important to providing this service so it is best to get with one of our funeral directors should you ever have need of such services.  We truly share your pain and loss.  God’s blessings to you and your family.

When do I need to pay for services?

When at-need (immediate need), payment must be made at the time of meeting with a funeral director.  We accept cash, check, credit cards, and insurance assignments under certain circumstances.  Always check with your funeral director as you begin making arrangements.  When pre-need, you may make arrangements with as little as 10% down and set up no interest installment payments for up to 60 months, depending on the amount to be financed.  Check with your Family Service Counselor or funeral director for details.

Why do I need to have an outer burial container, either a simple basic grave liner or a vault?

Calumet Park Cemetery requires that all caskets be placed in a permanent outer burial container as a protection against future grave settling.  Over a long period of time, with years of rainfall, cemetery maintenance equipment passing over the grave, and the deterioration of the casket that may take place, depending on the type of casket selected, along with the weight of the earth above the casket, the ground will cave in.  This event would cause a cemetery maintenance nightmare, huge esthetic challenges, and emotional pain for the family to know that their grave “caved in” on their loved one.  Calumet Park also requires an outer container for the interment of cremains (ashes) or a MacKenzie combination urn/vault (or comparable container that with withstand 5000 pounds of pressure per square foot).  Aside from the practical reasons for requiring outer containers mentioned above, it is Calumet Park’s commitment to families served that if they ever wish to have cremains or caskets disinterred to be moved to another location in Calumet Park or elsewhere, that we will be able to return the entire mortal remains or cremains as much as is humanly possible.  Note:  there is not a law to have an outer container but the law allows a cemetery to require one if they deem it fits their business model of serving families.

Why are there so many rules on what I can and cannot do regarding grave decorations?

When the founding fathers of Calumet Park Cemetery sat down and thought out their plans to have the most beautiful cemetery in Northern Indiana way back in 1928 (voted best cemetery in the country in 2018 by American Cemetery and Cremation magazine), they had to make decisions about what type of decorations would be allowed.  They recognized the human need to have a connection to those who have passed on, and how that connection sometimes is reflected in items brought to a gravesite.  With great wisdom and foresight, it was decided that dignity would outweigh all other concerns, and that the needs of the masses were greater than the needs of the individual, especially due to the sacred trust that the masses have put in the hands of their cemetery owners.  Plastics, balloons, teddy bears that get waterlogged and weathered do not contribute to the ambiance of a cemetery.  When anything is allowed, that means everything is allowed.  If the owner of the grave next to yours would want a Christmas tree decorated with miniature whisky bottles, it would have to be allowed.  If the owner on the other side of your grave space wanted to build a wire fence around his lot, or put up plastic palm trees and pink flamingoes on his lot, it would have to be allowed.  Instead, Calumet park Cemetery’s decorating rules were based on the needs of all of our property owners to have a dignified, well maintained and esthetically balanced “look” to the place.  Since 1929 when the first burial took place to the present, we have been able to provide a place of respite…a place of beauty…a place of peace that offers all of our patrons a quiet oasis in which to reflect and remember their loved one.  Anything less would be but a mockery of those who entrusted their loved ones to our care.

 

What does perpetual care mean and what does it cover?

:  According to Indiana Code 23-14-33-30, perpetual care or endowment care as it is sometimes known, means within the limits permitted by the net income received from the perpetual care fund or endowment care fund required by IC 23-14-22-48 and from other care funds or endowments.  Such funds may be spent on the following:  maintenance of the cemetery grounds and graves in keeping with a properly maintained cemetery.  This includes cutting the grass on cemetery lots at reasonable intervals, raking and cleaning of cemetery lots at reasonable intervals, pruning shrubs and trees, procuring, maintain, and keeping cemetery equipment in workable condition, keeping up repairs and preserving drains, roads, buildings, fences and other structures, including statues and embellishments of a general character applicable to the cemetery as a whole or a particular area.  Also allowed under this code is the administration of the cemetery, including the payment of insurance premiums, the payment of pensions and maintain necessary records of lot ownership, burial right ownership, burials, and other necessary information.  When used in connection with a mausoleum, columbarium, crematory, or other structure, the term perpetual care means the general upkeep of the structure and the grounds surrounding the structure, the repair, replacement and improvement of the structure, the procuring and maintaining and keeping machinery in reasonable condition, the tools and equipment needed and for the replacement of machinery, tools, and equipment when necessary.  Perpetual care does not include re-seeding graves, raising markers, replacing evergreens and bushes (other than those under the one-year warranty when purchased from Calumet Park Cemetery), or watering of flowers, evergreens and bushes.

How big is a grave? How deep?

The standard grave at Calumet Park Cemetery is 42 inches wide by 9 feet long.  The normal depth is approximately 6 feet.  There must be a minimum of 18 inches from ground level to the top of the outer container or 24 inches from the casket.  The height of the outer container helps to determine the total depth of the grave.

Can I bury on top of an existing burial?

Calumet Park does not allow burials on top of existing burials.  The State of Indiana has a little known law that stipulates a certain amount of dirt be above a burial; 18” above an outer container or 24” above a casket.

Do you bury pets at Calumet Park Cemetery?

There are special provisions in recent laws regarding this question that are being scrutinized by the owners as of this writing.  However, Calumet Park does not have a pet cemetery at this time.

What about regulation of the cemetery industry?

:  Cemeteries have done a great job of policing themselves.  The Indiana Funeral Director Association puts out a book each year that contains all the laws that cemeteries, funeral homes and crematories must comply with.  The 2019 “Book of Facts” contains 257 pages of statutes that also includes the Practice Act, Rules and Regulations, Funeral Declarations, the Preneed Act, The Cremation Act, The Cemetery Act, Fetal Deaths, Public Health Codes, Anatomical Gifts, Welfare Burial, Coroner Code, Funeral Processions, FTC, Veteran Affairs, OSHA/IOSHA, and Tax Labor Laws.  Calumet Park does due diligence at all times and does its upmost to be in compliance with all laws pertaining to protecting families from unscrupulous operators in the cemetery and funeral industry.  There are times that families feel inconvenienced with such stringent adherence to law, but that is the only way that Calumet Park can function.

When will the grave be leveled and when will grass be planted after a commital service?

The fill in a grave needs time to settle.  Usually a short time after a burial, more dirt is brought in to help to level the grave.  Depending on the type of soil, it may take two to three additions of dirt and tamping down before a final layer of topsoil and grass is planted.  It is a process that requires patience.  A look around the cemetery is proof that your individual grave will match the rest of the cemetery and be the way you want it to be.  During the winter months, such activity of leveling graves and planting grass is suspended until spring thaws have occurred.

Does Calumet Park do anything special for veterans?

Calumet Park has a unique, one-of-a-kind program designed specifically for honorably discharged veterans.  Besides all of the Federal benefits that may or may not apply to your veteran, Calumet Park offers a free grave space or $1000 credit toward a grave space of greater value, free installation of government markers including granite backers when needed, and highly reduced pricing for openings/closings, vaults, and funeral services, including caskets.

Why doesn’t my family veteran get a flag on his or her grave on days that flags are allowed?

VFW’s and American Legions have volunteers that place the flags.  Calumet Park always has a supply of flags at a table on Memorial Weekend for those who did not have a flag placed.  There is no charge but donations are accepted to be used for the purchase of the next year’s flags.

How big is the new flag at the cemetery?

The flag is 20’ x 30’ on an 80’ flagpole. God bless America and God bless all who enter through the gates of Calumet Park Cemetery.

How do I get a DD214?

If you cannot locate a DD214 or equivalent (military discharge papers), your funeral director or Family Service Counselor can help you by filling out a Standard Form 180 which is a Request Pertaining to Military Records.  Calumet Park has a full program of benefits designed to honor the time you or your loved one spent in the military.  For a complete list of benefits from both the veteran administration and from Calumet Park and Rendina Funeral Home, simply call or stop in at your convenience.  Calumet Park’s benefits are guaranteed to any veteran that served in the military and earned an honorable discharge which would be proven with the presentation of a DD214, whether pre-need or at-need. 

Are grave blankets and wreaths permitted during the winter months?

Grave blankets offer a means of adding a special, decorative touch to your loved one’s grave during the cold and bleak winter months.  A grave blanket is to a grave what a wreath is to the door on your home.  So, yes both grave blanket and wreaths (laid flat on the ground; not on stands) are permitted.  However, no artificial decorations such as ribbons or ornaments or anything that is not natural will be allowed.  It is best to call before spending money on an item that will be removed.

Why are flowers or other grave decorations taken from my loved one’s grave without telling me or giving me a chance to pick them up if you decide they are not allowed?

There are over 100,000 markers and monuments in the cemetery.  It would be impossible to track down who brought what to the cemetery, or to be able to find time to call every time something that is not permitted is removed from the grave.  When items are removed, they are disposed of and any employee that is found to have taken anything home is subject to immediate dismissal.

NOTE:  THERE ARE TIMES THAT ITEMS ARE PUT ON A GRAVE THAT HAVE WIRES THAT CAN GET TANGLED UP AND DAMAGE EXPENSIVE LAWN MOWERS.  THERE ARE OTHER ATTACHMENTS TO DECORATIONS THAT CAN BREAK UP AND FLY OUT FROM A MOWER WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF CAUSING INJURY TO AN EMPLOYEE OR A VISITOR, OR DAMAGE TO SURROUNDING MARKERS AND MONUMENT.

Are vigil lights, flowers and flags allowed at Calumet Park Cemetery?

Each section has its own rules concerning vigil lights and flowers.  Be sure to inquire prior to selecting your cemetery property as to the rules of the section you may be interested in.  Some sections allow the planting of flowers while other sections allow only the placement of natural cut flowers in an approved vase.  You may purchase approved vigil lights and vases at the cemetery office.  Flags may be placed on graves for Memorial weekend, July 4th (Independence Day), and Veterans Day.  Flags placed on any other days will be removed and properly disposed of according to the procedures for disposing of an American flag.

Where do I get water for my flowers?

There are faucets at the cemetery office and near the maintenance area across from section 3.  There are water pumps at sections 36C, 38, 37, 16, 15, 10, 9B, 7, 5, and 3A.  Best to get a map at the receptionist’s desk that will show you where they are on a simple to follow map.

May I install my own vase or bushes?

No.  Vases must be purchased from Calumet Park.  Bushes, if allowed on your lot, may be purchased from us or from outside suppliers.  However, they must be approved and inspected for insects or disease by the grounds superintendent and will be planted by Calumet Park personnel.  Vases purchased from Calumet Park have a five-year guaranty against damage from lawnmowers.  Due to the open concept cemetery without gates or fences, Calumet Park is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged vases unless damage is due to lawnmower damage.

Do I have to buy my monument or flush markers from Calumet Park Cemetery?

Most sections allow you to buy from us or from an outside dealer.  There are some sections that require you to purchase your memorialization from Calumet Park.  If you are not sure what is allowed in your section, feel free to stop in or call to check before you buy something that is not allowed.  For sections that allow you to buy from an outside dealer, you must coordinate the purchase through Rob Vogel (219-769-8803) who is a Board of Directors member.  He handles all outside dealer purchases.  It is important to know that all installations will be done by Calumet Park staff and charges for installations will be paid directly to Calumet Park, including an application fee.  Calumet Park is not permitted by law to charge any more for an outside dealer’s monument or marker to be installed than the charges if you bought from us.  Sizes, inscriptions, etchings etc. must comply with the rules of Calumet Park Cemetery and all monuments and markers from outside dealers are held to the same standard.  All monuments and markers will be inspected upon arrival and will be rejected if the cemetery rules are not adhered to.

When will markers and monuments be set and where will they go on my lot?

:   As soon as a monument or marker is received, every attempt is made to place it as quickly as possible.  When bought from Calumet Park, once a final approval is provided, the order is rushed.  For flush markers, it usually takes about 3-6 weeks to get the marker back to us for installation after a final approval of a proof is given, depending on the supplier’s schedule and stock situation.  When the granite comes from out of the country, it may take longer.  Monuments can take two to six months to get in for installation after final approval.  Monuments are always installed with a concrete foundation to eliminate sinking or toppling.  There is a point in November or December that is a cutoff for foundations which means timing of purchases can affect when a monument can be set.  Once the ground freezes, no monuments or markers will be set until spring.  It is always important to check with us on what is allowed, when it will be set etc.  Monuments are allowed only in monument sections and on lots that were purchased that included the purchase of a monument space.  Flush markers in monument sections are always placed on the perimeter of the lot so it is your decision if it will be placed as a headstone or a footstone; if grave is on west side of a lot, flush marker will be a headstone and if grave is on the east side of the lot, then it will be a footstone.  It is best to come in and visit with a Family Service Counselor who will work with you to get things just the way you want them to be depending on the property to be used for a burial.  Each flush marker section may have its own layout for where the marker is to be set so check with the office for clarity.

How do I clean a marker?

Regardless of your memorial being a granite monument, a granite flush marker or a bronze on granite flush marker, the suppliers suggest that you clean with a dish detergent such as Dawn.  Do not use wire brushes or harsh chemical cleaners as you may damage your marker or kill the grass around your memorial.

Why is a marker moved during a burial?

It is usually necessary to move a marker while digging a grave to open up the space for a backhoe to dig and to prevent damage to the marker during the process.  When a marker is moved, it is set aside nearby and replaced as soon as possible.

My marker is sinking and is overgrown with grass. What can be done about this issue?

Calumet Park will raise and level any grave marker whenever requested through the use of a Service Opportunity Order filled out at the administration office.  There are thousands upon thousands of markers at Calumet Park.  Each year the grounds crew will do sections at a time when schedules and weather permits.  There is never a charge for this service.

Why do I need to buy three graves to be able to put up a monument?

A monument needs to have land space on which to be installed.  Historically, families invested in family lots and there was a need to have a space large enough to have whatever size monument that they chose to have installed.  Most monument sections, therefore, were designed years ago with this thought in mind.  Over the past few years, less families want big family plots.  In response to the modern family’s needs, Calumet Park has designed a number of sections that allow for a monument with only two graves.  When considering an investment in cemetery property (burial rights), it is best to meet with a Family Service Counselor who will help you find the perfect place that meets your needs.  All three-grave lots that have a monument space as part of the purchase can be divided from three into two, meaning you can utilize the space for two burials centered on the three-grave lot.

My bronze marker is turning green. There must be something wrong with it. What is happening to my marker?

The green is called a patina and it is a natural process within nature to produce a protective coating over the metal.  When a marker is made, the bronze is finished with a clear protective coating that will help to delay the patina process.  Given enough time and weathering conditions, all bronze will turn green (look at all the monuments around the world that are green).  It is always recommended that you never use harsh chemicals or stiff brushes when cleaning a bronze marker because you will remove this clear coat which will then speed up the “greening” of your marker.  It bronze can be restored by having it returned to the supplier who will sandblast it, repaint it, and re-coat it so that it will make your marker look like it is brand new again.  See your Family Service Counselor to make arrangements for restoration. He or she will need your permission to remove the marker from your lot and you will pay the fee to have the work done at the time you want it done.

I want to sell my unused crypt or niche but it is already lettered. What are my options?

It has always been Calumet Park’s preference to not letter niches and crypts until the person passes for this very reason.  Depending on which marble or granite front is on your space, and there is a pattern from nature where each front matches the pattern of the one next to it, there is nothing that can be done about changing out the “lettered door”.  If possible, and available, we could get a new front that would have to be ordered, paid for and installed prior to your selling of the crypt or niche.  It is not likely that anyone would buy your crypts or niche with inscriptions on them.

Do you buy back graves?

As a rule, the answer is no.  It is seldom to the advantage of the consumer for us to buy back graves as we can only pay what the original purchase price was.  A fore instance is a recent inquiry about selling crypts back to Calumet Park.  The family paid around $10,000 back in 1997 and the current value is over $43,000.  It would not be fair to pay them their original purchase price and then we turn around and sell them for $43,000.  The idea behind the buy-back exchange is a preventative measure of doing an activity called “churning” which means constantly trying to upgrade burial rights (AKA cemetery property) for the cemetery’s benefit and not always beneficial to the customer.

So how do I sell a grave if I do not plan on being buried at Calumet Park?

You can sell them to a family or friend, or put an ad in the paper, or find a grave broker company, or donate them back to the cemetery with specific instructions to be used for veterans or indigent people who whomever you feel could benefit from having a free grave.  Regardless, you must have legal rights to the graves in question with the property (burial rights) deeded in your name.  It is best to seek help at the cemetery office when thinking of transferring them from you to a buyer or as a donation.

Can I cancel a pre-need contract and get my money back?

The State of Indiana dictates that cemetery and funeral pre-need contracts have a 30-day free look/cancellation period on contracts.  This means that a buyer has 30 days to decide if they want to keep the agreement or cancel and get a full refund. Once the 30 days have passed, Calumet Park will not refund or cancel.  Contracts are made when one party agrees to sell and the other agrees to buy and money changes hands, and after 30 days, neither side can cancel without consequences.  Once funds are trusted, the trust company (in our case, 1st Source Bank in Valparaiso) will not release the funds without proof that the person has passed and the services were delivered as contracted for.

 

Can I transfer my funeral pre-need contract from another funeral home to one of Calumet Park’s funeral homes (Rendina Funeral Home, Calumet Park Funeral Chapels in either Merrillville or Hobart)?

Yes, a funeral trust is transferable when paid in full and fully funded.  Calumet Park is not permitted by law to solicit such transfers but we will accept them with a promise to deliver the services and merchandise as contracted for with no additional charges for the items prearranged. Call for help in processing such transfers.

What if I prearrange and change my mind later as to burial versus cremation?

Pre-arrangement is not for everyone.  If you are not clear at all on how you want things handled when the time comes, then it might be best to hold off doing anything for now.  However, if you feel you want burial and later change your mind, our funeral directors will work with your legal representative to arrange your final wishes to be met.  Any excess funds at that time will be handled according to the statutes that exist at the time of changing the pre-need contract.  Without knowing exactly what is wanted at the time you want a change it is difficult to give an exact answer as there may be Medicaid issues in play that can add confusion to such decisions to change plans.  It is best to sit with a Family Service Counselor or with a personal lawyer or estate planner to design a plan that best meets your needs.

I have life insurance, so why prearrange?

Calumet Park Cemetery uses cash trusts to ensure that funds will be available at the time of need.  Life insurance cannot make the most traumatic decisions for your survivors on funeral day.  It cannot promise you that the proceeds will not be consumed by a serious accident or long illness.  Life insurance cannot guaranty cemetery or funeral prices against inflation.  Most people invest in life insurance to protect their family’s financial future in the event of a death; not to be consumed with final expenses.

How do I pay for a funeral at today’s high cost?

You can make pre-arrangements with zero percent interest and up to 60 months to pay.  Once you sign an agreement, the price can never go up.  You can arrange for your entire final expenses for both the cemetery and funeral home expenses, or do a little at a time to fit your budget.  When a couple prearrange together and one person passes before the contract is paid in full, the items that would be needed to service the decedent would have to be paid at that time and the balance can be paid by continuing payments.

What is involved when a person makes prearrangements? What do I need to be buried?

At the cemetery, for a ground burial, a grave is needed, an opening and closing (digging of the grave, filling in, paperwork), an outer container to protect the grave from sinking and to protect the casket and contents from gravesite elements, and a marker or monument.  A marker is flush with the ground and a monument rises above ground.  At the funeral home, the FTC states that a traditional funeral includes the basic services of a funeral director and staff, embalming, other preparation of the body, dressing, casketing and cosmetology, transportation of remains to the funeral home, use of facility and staff for visitation and viewing and use of facility and staff for funeral ceremony, and hearse.  For more information, talk to your funeral director of choice.

: I was told to see about a Medicaid spenddown. What can you tell me about it?

In situations that a person is applying for a move into assisted living, and they qualify for Medicaid to cover the expenses, certain rules apply. A person can have a limited amount of liquid assets and to get their money down to a level that Medicaid will approve the person for coverage they need to spend their excess funds to reach the levels set by Medicaid at the time of application and acceptance. Medicaid will need the previous five years of financial records and will allow the individual to spend their money in only one way – for cemetery and funeral arrangements. The Indiana Client Eligibility System (ICES) program policy manual from FFSA is the reference for Medicaid eligibility. Section 2615/2-/20.10 deals with funeral expenses. Funeral trusts and burial spaces purchased for the applicant and their spouse are exempt, along with immediate family members purchased as part of the spenddown. The courts rely on the definition of immediate family in the federal SSI regulations that define immediate family as an individual’s minor and adult children, brothers, sisters, parents and spouses of those individuals. There is no cap on properly executed contracts under the Preneed Act.

NOTE:  All contracts that are part of the spenddown must be initialed on the back of the contract that makes the contract immediately irrevocable and that any excess funds upon delivery of the services is to be returned to the Office of Medicaid and Planning.

Do I have to be embalmed?

The FTC requires the following statement to be included in a funeral home’s GPL (General Price List – which must be given to anyone who askes for the list, or anyone that is sitting with a funeral director or Family Service Person who is inquiring about funerals):  Embalming is not required by law.  Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements such as a funeral with a viewing.  If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as a direct cremation or immediate burial.

I want a direct cremation with just a short visitation to say goodbye and I am told that I would have to itemize and not get the low price that just a direct cremation would give. Why?

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has oversite of the funeral industry.  In 1984 funeral directors and consumers were invited to sit before a commission and tell their side of the funeral cost story.  The findings and conclusions on Issue 23 were that funeral transactions have several distinctive characteristics which serve to place the consumer in a disadvantaged bargaining position relative to the funeral director and leaves the consumer especially vulnerable to unfair and deceptive practices.  These characteristics are the disoriented effect of bereavement, the feeling of guily or other emotional consequences of death and the minimum time available to make arrangements.  Since 1984, the funeral industry has been regulated by the FTC and it is their rule that direct cremations cannot have any other service-oriented items as part of the definition of a direct cremation.  For further information, go on-line and Google “The Funeral Rule” which is a 50 page, all encompassing treatment of the laws relating to funeral service industry that must be complied with by all funeral homes and cremation societies.

What do I need to bring to the funeral home when a death occurs?

When you meet with your funeral director, the following list of things will make the meeting less stressful and will go quicker and smoother for you:  dependents legal name, sex, social security number, date of birth and date of death, military service info, marital status, surviving spouse’s name including maiden name of wife, dependent’s usual occupation, complete address at the time of death, highest level of education, what origin when Hispanic, and race (asked by the state), father’s and mother’s complete names, mother’s maiden name, burial clothing including undergarments and shoes, recent photograph, clergy name and phone number, copy of military discharge (DD214 or equivalent), life insurance policies with telephone number of your insurance agent and the name of the cemetery and deeds/contracts with the cemetery when available.

How much does an obituary cost?

Obituaries are based on length.  The average in this part of the country is around $150-$300.  The most expensive that we have seen was over $2600 for an obit that took up almost an entire page in the paper.  Calumet Park will include obituaries on our website (mycalumetpark.com/obituaries) for free.

What is an honorarium? Do I have to pay for a clergy to be part of the funeral service?

An honorarium is a stipend that is freely given to your clergy.  It is not a requirement but it has become an expectation due to the tradition of giving thanks for his or her presence and participation in the service.  Generally, people donate around $100 -$300 for this service.

Can I stay at the cemetery for the completion of a burial including filling in the grave and the placement of flowers on the grave?

Yes, you can.  Most people leave after a final goodbye when the funeral director thanks people for coming and dismisses the attendees.  For those that stay behind, be aware that you would need to follow the instructions of the grounds crew as they remove the tent etc. and bring in the heavy equipment used to fill in the grave. A safe distance from the gravesite must be maintained for your safety and to comply with insurance requirements.

When I bring clothing to the funeral home for my deceased loved one to wear in the casket, do I need undergarments? Shoes and socks? Pants? Is anything going to be seen from the waist down?

We prefer long sleeve and higher neck coverage to help in our presenting the best appearance of your loved one for visitation.  We will work with whatever you choose to bring in.  Undergarments are preferred but not required.  Pants or bottoms are a must as you will see from the hip area and up during visitation when the casket is open.  Shoes are not necessary but we will utilize them if brought in.

Are men buried in suits? Women in dresses?

There are no set rule for how a person should be dressed for a funeral and interment.  A person has the right to be dressed in whatever way the family feels is most natural to that person.  For some, a suit or dress may be right.  For others, a Cubs tee shirt and jeans is the right choice.  For some, eye glasses is a must, while for others, holding a cross is comforting.  The best way to know what should or should not be worn is to talk it over before the time of need arrives.  You can always visit with our funeral directors or Family Service Counselors to discuss how you would like a loved one to look for their last goodbye.    

What is a celebrant?

Funeral Celebrants make the service all about the person who died…their life, their loves and even their quirks. So, what is a Funeral Celebrant? A Celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to meet the needs of families during their time of loss. Celebrants provide personalized funeral services that reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased. A Celebrant offers an alternative to a service by a clergy person for those families not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service. Celebrants are specifically trained to design a service that is completely personal, incorporating those unique stories, songs, and experiences that defined that person. They have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches. And, Certified Celebrants follow a Code of Ethics that ensures complete confidentiality in all dealings with a family. Should you want to know more about this topic, feel free to call Calumet Park’s Certified Celebrants: Paul Vogel, Kimberly Jones or Carrie Evans. They will be more than happy to share ideas with you.

Can I co-mingle (mix) ashes of two or more people for burial?

It is Calumet Park’s policy to not co-mingle cremains (ashes) for final placement.  In the event a legal representative for the cremains wishes to disinter and take only one of two parents away from the grave or niche, for instance, then we want to be able to honor that request.  There are companion urns that have a thin separation for two individuals that is acceptable that will keep the cremains together without co-mingling.  Should cremains come to us that are co-mingled, we need a notarized letter by either the crematory that co-mingled, or the funeral home of record, or the legal representative of the cremains stating that they are delivering the cremains to Calumet Park as co-mingled.

I wanted to bury cremains and I was told that a funeral director needed to be present at the committal service, and that I would have to pay for them to be there. Why?

Indiana Code (IC 25-15-2-17, and -11, and -10 and -18) all speak to the requirement for an Indiana licensed funeral director to be present for all committal services, including the final placement of cremains.  If the body is present, a funeral director must be present.  This includes cremated remains and is further confirmed in IC 25-2-18 that states “any part of the body of a deceased individual.  The term includes human remains that have been cremated”.   You can provide your own Indiana licensed funeral director in lieu of using ours.  See your funeral director or Family Service Counselor if you have other questions.

I asked about when my friend (or relative) was cremated and was refused the information? Why?

We do all that is humanly possible to respect and honor a person’s right to confidentiality and privacy.  In our pursuit of this pledge, we do our best to be sure that we are working with the legal representative of any person that comes to us for their cemetery and funeral needs.  If there is ever a doubt as to who we should be working with to complete a burial or cremation or to hold a funeral service, then there will be times that we will require a court order before making arrangements or releasing any private information to anyone without clear authority over the arrangements.

What are the benefits of being buried above ground in a crypt instead of traditional ground burial?

Mausoleum entombment offers a clean, dry, Christian, permanent, and dignified form of burial. For those who want to ensure that there will never be water in the final resting place, mausoleum entombment is the best choice. Calumet Park’s community mausoleums are steel reinforced, poured in place concrete structures that are impervious to weather. The crypt fronts, where you put names and dates, are marble on all inside crypts and granite on all outside crypts. In almost all cases, comparing crypts to traditional ground burial, after all is said and done and memorialization is completed, the price is relatively equal to ground burial. For more information, see a Family Service Counselor for details and pricing.

What caskets and vaults do you use?

Batesville caskets and Wilbert vaults; two of the oldest, biggest, and financially strongest manufacturers in the country. Both are manufactured for our use right here in Indiana.