Perhaps one of the most neglected areas of assisting veterans and their dependents is in helping them prepare for emergencies that can arise in almost every family situation, referring to military discharge records and other essential documents and information needed when applying for benefits before and after the death of the veteran. All veterans should take the time to sit down and discuss with their spouse and family the benefits that they may be entitled to from the Veteran Affairs (VA) before the veterans' death.
- It is particularly important, that the surviving member of the family know the location of important family documents such as; military discharge payers, certificate of marriage, certificates of birth, divorce decrees and other important documents.
- Urge all veterans to have their military discharge papers recorded in the office of the local veterans' services department in their city or town or the town clerk's office.
- In addition, tile veteran should inform his or her spouse and family of any prior marriage or divorce and the location of such documents in that connection. Such documents and records should be kept in a place that is protected from fire and theft, yet, readily accessible.
- Family members should be advised to immediately contact the local veterans' service agent of the city or town of residence in the event of the death of the veteran.
By assembling these documents and discussing them now, the veteran will save his or her family and loved ones from an unnecessary burden at a time of emotional stress.