Setting up meaningful funeral and burial arrangements is an important component of estate planning and end of life planning. Many veterans are unsure about whether they or their family members are entitled to burial in a VA Cemetery. Family members may not realize that VA burial is a possibility and may miss an opportunity despite the fact that service in the military was very important to the identity of the decedent. Now, the VA is taking steps to let everyone figure out what burial services are available to veterans and their families well before death.
Eligible individuals are entitled to all of the following: burial in any open VA national cemetery, opening/closing of the grave, a grave liner, perpetual care of the gravesite, and a government-furnished headstone or marker or niche cover, all at no cost to the family. Veterans are also eligible for a burial flag and may be eligible for a Presidential Memorial Certificate. It’s important to know if your loved one is eligible for this before making alternate arrangements for a private funeral that may otherwise not be needed.
It certainly can be emotionally difficult to tackle the task of making pre-arrangements. However, pre-planning and pre-funding a funeral will be helpful to the surviving family members who will be struggling with their grief. In fact, if a person requires nursing home care and will be applying for Medicaid, they can fully pre-fund an irrevocable funeral trust, and the value of that trust will be an exempt asset that won’t preclude eligibility. So whether one seeks to have a VA burial, or one privately paid, these arrangements should be fully explored and planned in advance whenever possible.
Call us about estate planning for veterans and non-veterans alike … 732-382-6070