Making Funeral and Burial Arrangements


U.S. Marine Corps body bearers fold the flag

If you are the person authorized to direct disposition of your loved one's remains, your casualty assistance officer is there to assist you with making funeral and burial arrangements in honor of your loved one's service and sacrifice. You are encouraged to talk about funeral and burial arrangements with your casualty assistance officer or mortuary officer before making plans.

Your casualty assistance officer or mortuary officer can provide you with available burial options provided by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. When a service member dies on active duty, the Department of Defense will pay the funeral and burial expenses, which also includes the following benefits:

  • Preparation of remains
  • Casketing and inurning
  • Dressing
  • Transportation
  • Burial in a Department of Veterans Affairs- or Department of Defense-administered national, military service-administered cemetery, state or private cemetery
  • Government headstone

Things to consider:

  • Deciding whether to view the remains — A licensed mortician will make a recommendation whether you should view the remains. The Department of Defense does not seal caskets, as ultimately, the decision to view your loved one's remains is yours to make.
  • Travel arrangements to the burial site — The government will provide transportation to the burial site for the service member's immediate family, including the surviving spouse, children, siblings of the service member, the parents of both the service member and the surviving spouse, and the person authorized to direct disposition of remains. Your casualty assistance officer or mortuary officer can help with your travel arrangements.
  • Arranging for military funeral honors Your casualty assistance officer will be able to discuss with you any military honors and funeral benefits due to your service member. If you would like military funeral honors, your funeral director or casualty assistance officer or mortuary officer will arrange for the funeral honors detail, obtain interment flags and coordinate the presentation of the flags and flag cases and other awards.
  • Burial in a national, military, state or private cemetery — If you choose to make burial arrangements at a private cemetery, you may be reimbursed for usual and customary expenses. Your casualty assistance officer can provide more information on what expenses are and how much is reimbursable before you make any arrangements, and can assist you with filing the claim. Check with your casualty assistance officer or mortuary officer to see if your service will take care of the funeral and burial expenses directly with the funeral home and or cemetery of your choosing instead of you having to pay all expenses upfront.

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