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DeathWriting an ObituaryAn obituary includes a biographical outline and possibly a picture of the deceased. As early as possible, begin compiling the information for the obituary. Friends and family can help write this. Choosing a Funeral HomeHere are a few "starter" tips, questions and things to know when choosing a funeral home.Low-Cost Funeral OptionsToday's average funeral costs upwards of $7,755. Fortunately, there are ways to lower funeral costs. Average Funeral CostsHere is a list of the average costs of funeral items and services, taken from the National Funeral Directors Association 2010 General Price List Survey. Please contact your local funeral directors for a General Price List for prices in your area.Planning a Funeral Memorial FundsFamilies often want to set up memorial funds so money can be donated in memory of their loved one. If you are considering this, and are wondering where money can be donated, here are a few ideas to get you started.Choosing CremationHere are some starter questions if you choose to visit a crematorium (or what to ask your funeral director if you don't go yourself).Planning a Funeral Military HonorsMilitary Funeral Honors are provided whenever possible. Law mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family.Making Funeral ArrangementsMaking funeral arrangements involves many different tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, since many of these things happen simultaneously.Preparing a EulogyA eulogy is a tribute to a person's life, usually read at funerals or memorial services. Choosing a CasketCaskets hold the body before burial or cremation. Choosing OrganBody DonationIf your loved one requested organ donation or that his or her body be donated to a medical school, here are some things to know.Dividing Up Family HeirloomsWhat happens to possessions after the owner has passed on? Family members might battle over Mom's emerald earrings, Dad's golf clubs or even Grandma's yellow pie plate. Choosing a CemeteryYou will need to choose a location for burial or cremated remains if the deceased has not previously paid for a cemetery plot. You may wish to have a trusted friend or family member assist you in gathering and reviewing the information. Planning a Funeral 5 Common QuestionsHere are answers to common questions about planning a funeral.Common Estate and Inheritance Tax TermsCommon Estate and Inheritance Tax Terms These are simple, starter definitions for estate and inheritance taxes. Check with your financial advisor before doing anything. Estate Tax The Estate Tax is a transfer tax, which taxes the amount of wealth tr
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Planning a Funeral: Military Honors

Military Funeral Honors are provided whenever possible. Law mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. As provided by law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran includes:

No less than two members of the Armed Forces

One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran.

The honor detail will, at minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps.

Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording.

Eligibility

People entitled to Military Funeral Honors include:

Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.

Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.

Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.

Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

WHN Tip: Military Honors - Who to Call
Call the local chapter military branch of the service that your loved one served in for details. For more information, visit the Military Funeral Honors web page, sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Markers and Headstones

If the deceased veteran is being buried in a private cemetery, it's possible to have a veteran marker or headstone, thanks to Public Law 107-103, the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001, signed by President Bush on December 27, 2001.

This law includes a provision that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to furnish an appropriate headstone or marker for the graves of eligible veterans buried in private cemeteries, whose deaths occur on or after September 11, 2001, regardless of whether the grave is already marked with a non-government marker.

For more information, visit the Department of Veteran Affairs' Web site.

Burial in a National Cemetery

If the deceased is a veteran, he or she is entitled to a free burial in a national cemetery and a grave marker. This eligibility also extends to some civilians who have provided military-related service and some Public Health Service personnel.

Spouses and dependent children also are entitled to a lot and marker when buried in a national cemetery.

For more information and to determine eligibility, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs' Web site. To reach the regional Veterans office in your area, call 1-800-827-1000.

Burial in a State Veterans' Cemetery

In addition, many states have established state veterans cemeteries. Eligibility requirements and other details vary. Contact your state for more information.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.

Other Life Pages
DeathAverage Funeral Costs

Here is a list of the average costs of funeral items and services, taken from the National Funeral Directors Association 2010 General Price List Survey. Please contact your local funeral directors for a General Price List for prices in your area.

 Read More
Choosing a Casket

Caskets hold the body before burial or cremation.

 Read More
Choosing a Cemetery

You will need to choose a location for burial or cremated remains if the deceased has not previously paid for a cemetery plot. You may wish to have a trusted friend or family member assist you in gathering and reviewing the information.

 Read More
Choosing a Funeral Home

Here are a few "starter" tips, questions and things to know when choosing a funeral home.

 Read More
Choosing Cremation

Here are some starter questions if you choose to visit a crematorium (or what to ask your funeral director if you don't go yourself).

 Read More
Choosing OrganBody Donation

If your loved one requested organ donation or that his or her body be donated to a medical school, here are some things to know.

 Read More
Common Estate and Inheritance Tax Terms

These are simple, starter definitions for estate and inheritance taxes. Check with your financial advisor before doing anything.

 Read More
Dividing Up Family Heirlooms

What happens to possessions after the owner has passed on? Family members might battle over Mom's emerald earrings, Dad's golf clubs or even Grandma's yellow pie plate.

 Read More
Low-Cost Funeral Options

Today's average funeral costs upwards of $7,755. Fortunately, there are ways to lower funeral costs.

 Read More
Making Funeral Arrangements

Making funeral arrangements involves many different tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, since many of these things happen simultaneously.

 Read More
Planning a Funeral 5 Common Questions

Here are answers to common questions about planning a funeral.

 Read More
Planning a Funeral Memorial Funds

Families often want to set up memorial funds so money can be donated in memory of their loved one. If you are considering this, and are wondering where money can be donated, here are a few ideas to get you started.

 Read More
Planning a Funeral Military Honors

Military Funeral Honors are provided whenever possible. Law mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family.

 Read More
Preparing a Eulogy

A eulogy is a tribute to a person's life, usually read at funerals or memorial services.

 Read More
Writing an Obituary

An obituary includes a biographical outline and possibly a picture of the deceased. As early as possible, begin compiling the information for the obituary. Friends and family can help write this.

 Read More