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Pre-Need Memorialization Planning

Definition Pre-Need Memorialization Planning is the process by which individuals plan and arrange for their funeral, burial, or cremation services in advance. This allows the person to make specific choices and arrangements before their death, often resulting in a more personalized experience and easing the burden on family members. Common aspects of pre-need planning include […]


Pre-Need Memorialization Planning is the process by which individuals plan and arrange for their funeral, burial, or cremation services in advance. This allows the person to make specific choices and arrangements before their death, often resulting in a more personalized experience and easing the burden on family members. Common aspects of pre-need planning include selecting a cemetery or memorial site, choosing a casket or urn, and making payment arrangements to cover the costs of these services.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pre-Need Memorialization Planning allows eligible veterans, their spouses, and dependents to pre-determine eligibility and location preferences for burial in a VA national cemetery.
  2. The process helps veterans and their families to plan ahead, simplifying decision-making and reducing stress during the actual time of need.
  3. Completing the pre-need application does not guarantee a burial space, but it allows the VA to evaluate eligibility and preferences, making it easier for the family to arrange burial when the need arises.


Pre-Need Memorialization Planning is important for veterans and their families because it ensures the necessary preparations and arrangements are made in advance for their burial services and any related commemorations, providing peace of mind and reducing the burden on loved ones during an emotionally challenging time.

Through this proactive approach, veterans can confirm their eligibility for VA benefits, select a preferred burial site, and organize essential details, such as headstone inscriptions and military honors, well in advance.

By engaging in Pre-Need Memorialization Planning, veterans can ensure the preservation of their legacy, while allowing their families to focus on personal grieving and emotional healing when the time comes.


Pre-Need Memorialization Planning serves a vital purpose in helping veterans and their families prepare for the future by making the necessary arrangements for their funeral, burial, or cremation before the actual time of need arises. This thoughtful approach alleviates the burden on grieving family members by addressing key decisions and financial concerns ahead of time, ensuring that a veteran’s final wishes are honored with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

By engaging in pre-need memorialization planning, loved ones can focus on celebrating the veteran’s life and legacy, free from the stress, confusion, and potential disagreements that may arise from making end-of-life arrangements under emotionally charged circumstances. One of the primary uses of pre-need memorialization planning is the identification and reservation of burial or cremation sites in a VA national cemetery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enables eligible veterans, their spouses, and their dependents to pre-qualify for a gravesite or columbarium, streamlining the process for families in their time of need and assuring them that space will be available. Pre-need planning also encompasses the selection of memorial headstones or markers, which the VA provides without charge to honor the memory of the deceased.

When veterans and their families proactively engage in pre-need memorialization planning, they create a meaningful and lasting tribute that reflects the life, values, and service of the veteran while providing comfort and peace of mind to those who will carry on their memory.

Examples of Pre-Need Memorialization Planning

Pre-Need Memorialization Planning refers to the process of arranging and organizing funeral services, burial arrangements, and other memorialization options before they are needed to ensure that the veteran’s final wishes are met and to alleviate the burden on their family members. Here are three real-world examples of the VA Benefits term Pre-Need Memorialization Planning:

A veteran creates a detailed funeral plan:A veteran may preemptively meet with a funeral home or funeral director to discuss and document their desired funeral arrangements. This may include choosing the type of casket or urn, selecting a burial site, organizing the funeral service, and designating speakers and pallbearers. By outlining these arrangements in advance, the veteran’s family can refer to the plan and ensure that their loved one’s wishes are carried out after they pass away.

Obtaining pre-approval for burial in a VA National Cemetery:Veterans and their eligible family members can apply for pre-approval for burial in a VA National Cemetery through the VA’s Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program. This process involves completing the VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, and submitting it along with copies of relevant documentation that confirms the veteran’s or the family member’s eligibility for burial. Once approved, the individual will receive a pre-need *etter of eligibility*, which simplifies the burial process during a time of grief and ensures the veteran’s funeral wishes.

Pre-purchasing a burial plot or monument:In some cases, a veteran may choose to pre-purchase a burial plot in a private cemetery. By purchasing a plot in advance, they can ensure that they have a final resting place according to their preference and allow their family members to have a clear understanding of their wishes. Additionally, a veteran might also choose to pre-plan and purchase a headstone or memorial marker. They can select the design, material, and inscriptions, ensuring that their memorialization is a true reflection of their life and service.In all these cases, Pre-Need Memorialization Planning can significantly ease the emotional and financial burden on the veteran’s family, while providing peace of mind to the veteran themselves by ensuring that their final wishes are respected and executed.

FAQ: Pre-Need Memorialization Planning

1. What is Pre-Need Memorialization Planning?

Pre-Need Memorialization Planning is a service provided by the VA to help eligible veterans and their families plan their memorial services in advance. This allows the veteran to make decisions about their final resting place, and appropriate type of memorial during their lifetime, ensuring that their wishes are fulfilled and reducing stress for their loved ones.

2. Who is eligible for Pre-Need Memorialization Planning?

Veterans who have received an honorable or general discharge, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible for Pre-Need Memorialization Planning. Other eligibility criteria may include length of service, wartime service requirements, and certain disability or financial conditions.

3. How do I apply for Pre-Need Memorialization Planning?

To apply for Pre-Need Memorialization Planning, you can submit VA Form 40-10007, “Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery,” along with supporting documentation such as a copy of your DD Form 214 or other discharge papers. You can apply online, via mail, or in person at a VA national cemetery or regional office.

4. What services are included in Pre-Need Memorialization Planning?

Pre-Need Memorialization Planning includes selection of a burial location within a VA national cemetery, choosing between options like traditional in-ground burial or placement in a columbarium, alignment services, and coordination with your funeral home or third-party providers. It can also include details about headstones and markers, memorial flag arrangements, and military honors, if desired.

5. Can I change my Pre-Need Memorialization Plan?

Yes, you can change your Pre-Need Memorialization Plan at any time by contacting the VA or submitting an updated application. It’s important to communicate any changes as they occur, and to keep your family and loved ones informed of your wishes.

6. What happens if I pass away before completing my Pre-Need Memorialization Plan?

In the event that you pass away before completing your Pre-Need Memorialization Plan, your family or funeral director can contact the VA to initiate the planning process on your behalf. While your preferences might not have been documented, the VA will still assist in coordinating a respectful and honorable memorial service in accordance with your eligibility status.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Advance Directive
  • Funeral Arrangements
  • Cemetery Eligibility
  • Burial Preferences
  • Survivor Benefits

Sources for More Information

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