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National Cemetery Administration

Burial in a Private Cemetery

You may want to ask the following questions when preparing for burial in a private cemetery:

  • When responding to an offer of a "free" gravesite for Veterans, ask if there is a requirement to purchase an additional gravesite.
  • If an additional gravesite is required, where will it be located and what is the cost?
  • What type of trust fund does the cemetery have to protect buyers?
  • Ask if there are restrictions on the type of headstone or marker that can be used to mark the grave.
  • Does the cemetery require a special marker base to be purchased prior to ordering a free government marker for a Veteran's grave?
  • Is there an additional cost for the placement, setting or care of a free government headstone or marker? Is it more than if a private headstone or marker is purchased?
  • Is an outside container (usually called a "vault" or "grave liner") required and how much does it cost?
  • Know what you are receiving and what is required by the company and have them put it in writing prior to burial.

We suggest that if burial will be in a private cemetery and a Government headstone or marker or medallion will be requested for the Veteran’s grave, that the family complete, in advance, VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private or State Veterans’ Cemetery, or VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion for Placement in a Private Cemetery and place it with the Veteran’s military discharge papers for use at the time of need.

Only an eligible Veteran may receive a Government-furnished headstone or marker or medallion for placement in a private cemetery. Veteran’s spouses and dependent children are not eligible.