While planning your own funeral can be challenging—which is what leads many people to avoid it until last minute—it's important that you do so. This way, your own desires for a service are met by your friends and family. As a vet, it's even more important since there are many aspects about funeral planning that differ compare to the average person. Here are three things you should know about funeral planning as a veteran:
- You May Have VA Benefits: First off, you must know that as a veteran, you have VA benefits for your funeral planning. This includes payment for most of the funeral expenses. However, keep in mind that it won't cover all costs—just the burial space, burial flag, and other honors, unless you are retired. If you are a retired veteran, these expenses won't be covered, so keep that in mind. You also won't have these costs covered if you are not buried at a national cemetery.
- You Are Always Entitled to Military Honors: As a veteran, you are always entitled to full military honors, even if you aren't buried at a national cemetery or you are retired. Keep in mind that as a retired veteran, you do have the option for a military burial, and you can choose a private cemetery of your choosing, as well. So don't think that just because you cannot have costs covered by the VA, you cannot have a military burial.
- Talk With a Funeral Home: Whatever you decide, you want to talk with the funeral home of your choosing about your plans for burial services. Most will have experience with military burials and will be able to plan this accordingly, especially when it comes to ensuring that you are receiving a full military burial service. Your funeral home will also need to know what expenses are being covered by the VA so that they can get these details squared away. This way, it's not something that your family will have to deal with, but instead they can have their focus on all the other details that need to be covered.
When you know these three things, you are more likely to understand your rights as a veteran to ensure that you are honored in this respect as much as you can be during the funeral service if that is something you want. Don't be afraid to ask about these things when planning.