Caveat Emptor

It’s often been said that cemetery property is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. There’s no question that you couldn’t give grave sites to some people. The focus of this blog is to explain some of the differences between a privately operated cemetery and a National Cemetery.

Veterans Funeral Care is a program offered by Northern Indiana Funeral Care which is based in Fort Wayne. One of the major tenants of Veterans Funeral Care is the commitment to actively promote, even encourage, the use of National Cemeteries for qualified veterans. It’s our belief that burial in a national cemetery (or a state veterans’ cemetery) is a privilege, indeed an honor, for those who served our country as a member of the armed forces. I have found the mistaken idea among veterans that this option is for the indigent or veterans who otherwise have little means. This could not be further from the truth.

Marion National Cemetery - Marion, Indiana

Marion National Cemetery

Marion National Cemetery is impeccably maintained and the staff rivals any commercial cemetery in the country. Their approach to serving veterans provides a remarkable experience and the grounds of the cemetery are quite beautiful. It has various features that have been erected through the years and provides veterans an appropriate place to be laid to rest. The most important thing to understand, however, is that national cemeteries are maintained for perpetuity as national shrines. All of this is provided at no charge to veterans and their dependents. I’ve personally never been to a commercial cemetery that I thought was any better than a national cemetery. At any rate, veterans on every spectrum of the economic ladder are learning more and more about the benefits, whether choosing cremation or a traditional funeral, of utilizing a national cemetery.

By contrast, many cemeteries are operated by huge, out of state corporate conglomerates. This is true in Fort Wayne where these same companies also operate funeral homes in the same market. The reason that the funeral director won’t tell a veteran about national cemetery benefits is because they want to sell grave spaces, opening and closing (O and C), burial vaults, and markers or monuments. In some cases funeral directors are paid a bonus based on sales to families who are making at need arrangements. In other cases, they just assume that you wouldn’t want to be buried in a national cemetery because it’s not located in Allen County. It also creates more work having to coordinate military honors and travel to Grant County for burial. These funeral homes have no motivation to make sure veterans understand the VA benefits related to funeral, cremation, or burial expenses.

Finally, the cost of burial in a private cemetery is substantial. For a husband and wife, burial sites typically cost between $1,000 to $2,000 with opening and closing costs running between $600 and $1,000. Burial containers or vaults cost between $800 and $2,000 and you can spend whatever you want on a memorial, marker, or monument but with a cheap, flat granite marker plus tax and installation you’ll spend at least $800. If you just take the average of these items you’re at $8,800 and that’s before you ever get to the funeral home! Even if you find a low cost casket and add that to the typical funeral home services charge you’re looking at $20,000 to $25,000 in total cemetery and funeral expenses! Compare this to a national cemetery where THERE IS NO COST AT ALL. THAT’S AN $8,000 to $12,000 BENEFIT FOR A HUSBAND AND WIFE at the cemetery alone! Add to that the fact that our funeral plans typically save veterans 40% or more means thousands more in savings.

I’m continually surprised at the number of veterans in Northeast Indiana who have no idea this benefit is available to them. Our mission is to make sure that ALL veterans in the following counties know and understand this valuable benefit: Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley.. I encourage veterans who already have burial spaces to let fellow veterans know about this benefit. We’re finding that the consumer is seeking a more simple and straightforward approach to funeral and cremation services. Our desire is to be a leader in providing inexpensive services, all provided with the utmost of respect and concern. We encourage families to get all the facts when they are considering planning ahead for these needs. You’ll find our Veterans Funeral Plans on our website which give a complete description of what we offer. Feel free to request a brochure, email vfccounselor@yahoo.com, or even call 877-382-2756 with questions you may have. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope it was informative.

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