As an attorney working with elders and their estate plans, I discuss my clients’ wishes for burial or cremation. I always encourage my veteran clients, as part of their estate planning, to plan in advance to make things easier on their family when they pass away.
Burial benefits for veterans are administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Burial benefits include, at no cost to the family: a gravesite in a VA national cemetery with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care of the gravesite, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a presidential memorial certificate. “Burial” includes cremation and all other legal methods of disposing of remains.
Many veterans choose not be buried in a VA cemetery. What they often fail to realize is that they can still be eligible for VA burial benefits. A veteran can get a government-furnished headstone or marker to be placed in a private cemetery or a veteran can obtain a medallion to be affixed to an existing headstone. The cost of placing or setting the marker is not covered by the VA.
The VA will also pay a burial allowance for the plot or other expenses, such as transportation of remains. The entitlement and amount of the payment depends upon whether the death is service related, whether the veteran died while hospitalized in a VA hospital, and whether the veteran is entitled to or is receiving VA compensation or pension.
If you are a veteran, contact the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to determine whether you have a claim for burial benefits. You can visit your area service office or apply online at:
If you need advice on your last wishes, call the Law Office of Debra G. Simms today at 386.256.4882
This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.