Prepare Yourself 2016-12-29 2:12:36 PM

The sudden and unexpected passing of Connie (Conrad) Steers this week brings a harsh reality of mortality to each of us. With the exception of a sudden death, have you prepared for the last day of your life? Is your will in order and current? Do you have a will? Have you planned for your body’s resting place? Is your family aware of your desires?

You should start thinking and preparing for your death now. As many usually do, they either ignore or procrastinate the preparation process. Many years ago, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA) created the “Paper Safe” project, which was a booklet containing many fill in pages that would contain banking information, location of important paperwork (wills, documents, deeds, serial numbered accounts, etc.) for a survivor to possess to be able to pay bills, file documents with various agencies, receive benefits of the deceased, and so on. Did you complete one and advise a family member where the booklet was stored?

The VA announced on December 8, 2016, a new program titled “Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery”. The program is a process for eligible veterans to complete a form (http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-10007.pdf) and file it with the VA stating where the veteran would like to be buried. The news statement from the VA can be read at https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2840

Each Claimant requires a separate VA Form 40-10007. A separate copy of VA Form VA-40-10007 may be submitted for spouses at any time. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran whose death occurred on or after January 1, 2000, who had a subsequent remarriage to a non-Veteran, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her marriage to the eligible Veteran.

A list of VA national cemeteries is available online at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/allnational.asp

A favorable Pre-Need determination of eligibility does not guarantee burial in a specific national cemetery. Burial in a specific VA national cemetery will be scheduled at the time of need.   If you provide an email address, VA may use your email address to communicate with you about your claim and burial benefit.

Arlington National Cemetery is under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army. Inquiries concerning eligibility for interment there should be directed to Arlington National Cemeteryin Virginia.  See Section V.6 of the VA Form 40-10007 information sheet for the address and phone number or on-line at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org.

Eligibility criteria for burial in state veterans cemeteries are the same or similar to criteria for burial in VA national cemeteries, but some states have residency requirements and other more restrictive requirements. State cemeteries should be contacted directly for information.