* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Pre-Need Funeral Planning


Pre-need funeral planning refers to the process of arranging and paying for a funeral or burial service in advance. By making these arrangements, individuals can ensure that their preferences are respected while also potentially easing the financial burden on their family after they pass away. This planning can also be a component of broader estate and financial planning, sometimes involving services covered under VA benefits for eligible veterans.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pre-Need Funeral Planning allows veterans and their families to arrange and pay for a funeral in advance, ensuring that their final wishes are honored and reducing the burden on loved ones during a difficult time.
  2. Benefits of Pre-Need Funeral Planning include financial advantages, such as locking in current prices for funeral services, as well as peace of mind for both the veteran and their family.
  3. The VA offers various burial benefits for eligible veterans, such as burial in a national cemetery with a grave marker, a burial flag, and military funeral honors. Planning in advance can help ensure these benefits are utilized effectively.


Pre-Need Funeral Planning is an important aspect of VA benefits as it allows veterans and their families to plan and arrange for funeral services in advance.

This proactive approach not only ensures that the final wishes of the veteran are honored but also eases the emotional and financial burden on the family during a time of grief.

The process encompasses various elements such as selecting a funeral home, collecting necessary documentation, choosing burial or cremation options, and determining the type of memorial service.

By addressing these details in advance, veterans can have peace of mind knowing that their end-of-life services are organized and that their families have support and guidance through the VA benefits system.


Pre-Need Funeral Planning, in the context of VA benefits, is focused on addressing and organizing the funeral arrangements and essential aspects related to the burial of a veteran or eligible beneficiary, well before the need arises. Its purpose is to not only alleviate the burden on family members during the emotionally challenging time of losing a loved one, but to also streamline the decision-making process and ensure that the deceased’s funeral and burial wishes are honored to the best extent possible.

By planning ahead, veterans and their families can have peace of mind knowing that arrangements have been made in accordance with their preferences, while also providing an opportunity to set aside funds, evaluate options, and secure necessary documentation. Furthermore, Pre-Need Funeral Planning also assists veterans and their families in understanding and navigating the various benefits available to them through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits can encompass a range of services and entitlements, including burial in a national cemetery, military funeral honors, government-furnished headstones or markers, among others.

By engaging in Pre-Need Funeral Planning, eligible individuals can maximize the benefits provided by the VA and ensure a dignified and honorable burial that commemorates their service to the nation. In essence, this proactive approach showcases gratitude, respect, and recognition towards the brave men and women who have served our country, and promises a lasting legacy for future generations to come.

Examples of Pre-Need Funeral Planning

Veteran’s Funeral and Burial Package: A veteran may pre-plan their funeral arrangements by contacting a local funeral home and selecting the desired services, such as casket or cremation, type of service, and any military honors. They can outline their preferences and even pre-pay for the services, ensuring their wishes are honored and easing the burden on their loved ones after their passing.

National Cemetery Pre-Eligibility Determination: The Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (NCA) offers the Pre-Need Eligibility Determination program, which allows veterans and their spouses to determine their eligibility for burial in a national cemetery before the time of need. By submitting a VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, individuals can confirm their eligibility and receive a letter from the NCA. This letter can be shared with family members and kept with other important documents to ensure their burial wishes are fulfilled.

Pre-Need Funeral Planning Assistance: Several organizations and programs, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans, offer resources and assistance to veterans in pre-planning their funerals. These organizations can aid in navigating the process, ensuring veterans are aware of the various benefits and honors available to them, and helping them complete the necessary paperwork and arrangements for a pre-need funeral plan.

FAQ: Pre-Need Funeral Planning VA Benefits

1. What is pre-need funeral planning?

Pre-need funeral planning is the process of making arrangements for one’s own funeral or that of a loved one in advance. This can include selecting a burial or cremation option, choosing a burial site, selecting a casket or urn, and planning the funeral ceremony. Planning ahead helps alleviate the stress and financial burden often associated with funeral arrangements and ensures that the individual’s final wishes are honored.

2. How do VA benefits assist with pre-need funeral planning?

The VA provides various benefits specifically designed to assist veterans and their families with pre-need funeral planning. These benefits may include burial in a VA national cemetery, a headstone or marker, a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, and in some cases, financial assistance.

3. Who is eligible for pre-need funeral planning VA benefits?

Veterans, service members, and eligible family members may qualify for pre-need funeral planning VA benefits. Eligibility depends on factors such as the veteran’s service history, discharge status, and the specifics of death-related expenses. To check your eligibility, it’s recommended to contact the VA for assistance.

4. What is the process of applying for pre-need funeral planning VA benefits?

To start the process, you must submit VA Form 40-10007, “Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery” directly to the VA. You can submit the application by mail, fax, or in person at a VA national cemetery office. After reviewing your application, the VA will provide you with a written decision letter regarding your eligibility.

5. Can I choose the specific VA national cemetery for burial?

Yes, you can choose a specific VA national cemetery for burial when applying for pre-need funeral planning VA benefits. However, please be aware that space availability may vary, and the VA cannot guarantee that your preferred cemetery will have space available at the time of need.

6. What additional resources are available to assist with pre-need funeral planning?

For more information on pre-need funeral planning and VA benefits, you can visit the official VA website, contact your local VA office, or visit the National Cemetery Administration’s website. Additionally, you can consult with a funeral planning professional for guidance on making arrangements.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Funeral Expense Coverage
  • Burial Allowance
  • Memorial Service Arrangements
  • Grave Marker Selection
  • Veteran Cemetery Eligibility

Sources for More Information