End of Life Benefits


Hi Jim, I'm a proud Vietnam vet and getting up there. I was wondering if I could set up burial issues now so my wife wouldn't have to deal with very much? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.


Jim's Reply:

I've long recommended that when veterans like us begin planning our end of life one of the best things we can do is to choose a funeral director today. Look around in your region and think of the cemetery where you'd like to rest and then think of who seems reputable in the funeral director line and make an appointment. Choose your funeral director like you'd choose your primary care doctor. Ask around, get references or just charge right in and interview a few.

Almost every funeral director I've met knows the ins and outs of how to get this done with your VA. They do a lot of trade with VA and they have the emails and phone numbers to talk to the right people.

Interview more than one funeral home and don't make any payments...yet. Depending on many variables you can be buried for almost nothing or you can spend a lot of money over and above what VA will pay for. Think about your budget way ahead of time...do you want simplicity ($$) or pomp and circumstance ($$$$$$)? 

A good funeral director will set you up within your budget and consider all that VA can contribute to the event.

Another thing you want to do is to find your regional National Cemetery. Once you learn what is reasonably within distance of you, go visit and meet the cemetery director. Our national cemeteries are a source of pride and respect for us and many choose the perpetual care and respect we receive there. Your spouse may also be buried there with you, either after you pass or before, should that happen.

Planning ahead is smart and saves your survivors a lot of angst. Don't forget to think of how to apply for DIC, get insurance and homeowner documents all together and so on. A will is a priority too.

Good luck sir.