What is Veterans Funeral Care?

Veterans Funeral Care is a program offered by a network of funeral homes committed to serving veterans and the military community. We currently provide services in most states. Northern Indiana Funeral Care is a branch location of Hite Funeral Home which has been in business since 1948. We are the provider of this program for Fort Wayne and all of Northern Indiana including the following counties: Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley. Veterans Funeral Care is honored to have the exclusive endorsement of the American Legion, Departments of Indiana, Illinois and South Carolina.

I would characterize our program in 4 ways:

  • We have a real commitment to veterans. As an example, we’re the only mortuary I’m aware of that actively encourages and promotes the use of national and state veterans cemeteries. Although Marion National Cemetery is just 40 miles south of Fort Wayne, many veterans are unaware of its existence. We also do whatever is necessary to ensure that veterans receive all the benefits they have earned.
  • Our standard is excellence. We don’t provide services that are cheap or at a discount, but strive to be the very best in all we do.
  • We recognize there are a rapidly growing number of people looking for a more direct, simple and straightforward approach to funeral and cremation services.
  • Modest pricing is the hallmark of the plan. The mission of Veterans Funeral Care is to save veterans and their families thousands of dollars on funeral expenses.

The purpose of planning ahead for funeral or cremation needs is to make the time of your death, as much as possible, easier on the people you love. This involves three basic issues:

  • Having information on file at the funeral home.
  • Making decisions.
  • Figuring out how your funeral expenses will be paid.

Your vital statistics will be needed in order to get the Death Certificate.

  • This includes information like your legal name, address, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, marital status, military record, occupation, retirement year, education level, fathers name, mothers full maiden name, and so on.
  • Details you may want included in the newspaper. I frequently work with people who actually write their own obituary.
  • Your DD214 or separation papers will be needed for any eligible VA benefits.

Everyone is faced with making 8 major decisions.

  • The 1st is the method of disposition. Are you going to have a traditional funeral, or will you be cremated?
  • The choice of cemetery.
  • Kind of cemetery property–above ground in a mausoleum or below ground.
  • The type of burial vault. I find that few people understand that a burial vault is a cemetery requirement for maintenance. Basically, a vault maintains the integrity of the burial site. If you put 2 tons of earth on top of a casket it will slowly crush it, the grave would sink, and the cemetery would have to continually backfill. The decision is whether you want one that is protective, in other words will keep out the elements of the earth, or one that is non-protective and will not.
  • Do you prefer a headstone that is flush to the ground? Would it be bronze on granite or granite only? Or would you want to have an upright monument instead? If so, what color? What size would it be?
  • Another decision is the type of casket – metal or wood.
  • Where and how will the funeral services take place?
  • And lastly, how much should be spent on all of this?

In addition to those choices–There are many more.

  • What will you include in a memorial package?
  • What kind of flowers do you prefer?
  • Do you want a flag case?
  • How many death certificates will be needed?
  • What newspapers should the obituary be in?
  • Are police escorts needed?
  • Does the final date need to be engraved on the headstone?
  • Who should receive an honorarium and who will make payment?
  • Will you have a flag draped casket?
  • Would you like to have military honors?

When your family is trying to make all these decisions on the worst day of their life it can be completely overwhelming.  After a death, when emotions are at a peak, families commonly disagree with what should take place, all the while having no idea what you would have wanted.  What we refer to as emotional overspending is a tendency to make decisions with emotion instead of logic.

If you take the average inflation rate over the last few decades, prices more than double every 12 to 15 years.  None of us can predict the future, but we know at some point in time this bill will come due. The problem is you have no idea how much it’s going to be, or who will be there to pay it. So the question becomes, “who’s responsible for this?”

It’s a fact of life that at every person’s death, the proper disposition of their mortal remains becomes someone’s responsibility. You’ve either accepted that responsibility yourself, or someone in your family will have to accept it for you.

If you set aside the financial implications, which are important, the only cost to plan in advance is your time and the willingness to do it. If you think about it, there’s no reason not to. Simply put, I’ve never worked with a family who regretted that things were preplanned and prefunded. It just makes sense, regardless of what happens in your life, to make sure this issue won’t become a burden to the people you love.

But the financial burden can be considerable. Veterans commonly spend in excess of $10,000 for funeral and cremation expenses.

Our members pay an average of just $4200.

Most people are familiar with the term “funeral parlor”? Seventy to eighty years ago, visitations took place in the home and if people had a church affiliation, services were held in the church. The funeral home was where the funeral director lived and worked.

Although many people are looking for modest prices for funerals, costs over the last several decades have skyrocketed due to the consolidation of family owned funeral homes by large public companies. These companies are expected by Wall Street to produce big profits and the families that use them are the ones that generate those profits. We also believe many independent owners have overbuilt so they have to charge what they do in order to continue operating multi-million dollar facilities.

There are a lot of fine funeral homes in Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana. We don’t claim to be better but simply offer an alternative by bringing funeral service full circle, renewing old and sensible traditions. By just paying for the services of the funeral director and staff along with inexpensive merchandise including caskets, vaults, and urns, funerals and cremations shouldn’t cost what we see people spending today.

We are committed to keeping our overhead low and providing a simple approach to funerals…an approach that provides a personal service in one of our facilities, your church, home, cemetery chapel, American Legion, VFW, or Am Vets post or some other community-centered location.

Because of the uncertain financial situation at the time of death, many people decide to pre-pay funeral expenses. If you choose to do this, in essence what you purchase is a guarantee. Regardless of what happens, you and your family will never pay more than today’s cost. In other words, by paying now, you are insuring that the cost of your funeral will stay the same—it’s not going to increase or cost more in future years.

If you would like to know more about Veterans Funeral Care and how to keep funeral and cremation services inexpensive, please contact us at 1-877-382-2756 or visit our website at northernindianafuneralcare.com.


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