After Care

After your loved one has been laid to rest within Dorchester Memory Gardens, there still may be several important items to take care of. Please use the resources below to assist in completing any final arrangements or loose ends for your loved one.


Creating a memorial for a loved one does not have a specified time-line. The grieving process is different for everyone, so we encourage each family to schedule a free design consultation at their convenience. Sometimes, designing a meaningful memorial can help a family during the grieving process and brings closure by honoring the life of a lost loved one. Our preferred partner for designing monuments and marker is Lowcountry Monuments, based out of Summerville, SC. Please call to arrange a free design appointment 843-871-2016.


After a death has occurred, please provide both the will and the death certificate of the person who has passed away to the Probate Court within thirty days of death. If no will exists, the closest relative should come in person with the death certificate to open the estate. Other items you may need for file for probate are listed below:

  • The deceased will (the original)
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • A copy of your marriage license
  • A recent tax statement showing the value of the deceased real estate
  • List of all insurance values policies and values
  • List any other property (boats, cars, homes, etc.)
  • List estimated value of any other miscellaneous property

Probate Court Locations

  • Dorchester County Probate Court
    5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd.
    St. George, South Carolina 29477
    Phone: (843) 563-0136 or (843) 851-5785

  • Berkley County Probate Court
    300-B California Avenue
    Moncks Corner, South Carolina 29461
    Phone: (843)719-4519 or (843)723-3800 Ext. 4519

  • Charleston County Probate Court
    84 Broad Street
    Charleston, South Carolina 29401
    (3rd floor, corner of meeting and broad)


Charleston Social Security Office
1463 Tobias Gadson Boulevard
Charleston, South Carolina 29407
Phone: 1(866) 495-0111(Local Number)


Family members who usually qualify for survivors benefits

  • Widows and widowers age 60 and older
  • Widows and widowers (at any age) if caring for the deceased child(ren) who is under age 16 or is disabled.
  • Widows, widowers, divorced wives, and husbands age 50 or older if they are disabled
  • Children up to age 18
  • Children over ag 18 if they become disabled before age 22
  • The deceased worker's parents age 62 or older if they are being supported by the worker.


Along with the monthly benefits, a one-time payment of $255.00 will be paid to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death. If there is no living spouse, the benefit can be paid to a spouse or child who is eligible for benefits. If there is no eligible spouse or child, this one-time payment will not apply.

Documents that may be needed by social security

  • Your social security number and the deceased social security number
  • A certified death certificate.
  • Proof of the deceased worker's earnings for the last year (W-2)
  • Your birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate if you are applying for benefits as a widow, widower, divorced wife of husband.
  • A divorce decree if you are applying for benefits as a divorced wife or husband.
  • Child(ren) birth certificate(s) and social security number if applying for children's benefits.
  • Checking or savings account information if you want direct deposit for your benefits.

You will need to submit original documents or certified copies by issuing office. You can mail or take them to the office. Social security will make copies and return your original documents. The social security administration will be able to help you with any other questions you may have.


VA Office Locations

Charleston County VA
3346 Rivers Avenue, Suite D-2
North Charleston, South Carolina 29405
(843)974-6360 (phone)

Dorchester County VA
101 Ridge Street
St. George, South Carolina 29477
(843)832-0116 or 843-832-0050

Berkley County VA
223 North Live Oak Drive
Moncks Corner, South Carolina 29461
(843)723-3800 ext. 4022

You may be entitled to a VA Allowance if:

  • You paid for a Veteran's Burial or Funeral, AND
  • You have not be reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran's employer, AND
  • The Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • The Veteran died as a result of a service-connected disability, OR
  • The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  • The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
  • The Veteran died while hospitalized by the VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
  • The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment or care, OR
  • The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death prior to the date of death, OR
  • The Veteran died on or after of October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.

How much does VA pay?

  • Service connected: $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, $1,500 prior to September 10, 2001.
  • Non Service-Connected Death:
    For deaths on or after October 1, 2011, $700 toward burial and funeral expenses (if properly hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial or funeral expenses (if not properly hospitalized by VA at time of death) and a $700 plot interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery).
  • If the death happened while the Veteran was properly hospitalized by VA, or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the cost for transporting the Veteran's remains may be reimbursed.

NOTE: Effective October 1, 2013, the burial/funeral plot/interment allowance was increased to $734.

  • A burial flag is available. We will need a copy of your military discharge (Form DD 214) to secure a flag for you.
  • You are entitled to a headstone marker.
  • You are entitled to be buried in a National Cemetery. The funeral home will need at least 24-48 hours' notice (before date of funeral) to coordinate these arrangements.
  • Only active duty or 20 year retirees are entitled to Full Military Honors (with buglar, flag presenter, pallbearers, etc.)
    An honorable discharge is needed for any and all military benefits.

To check on status of your VA claims, please call 1-800-827-1000


Call Collen Boggs at the Charleston AFB Assistance Office 963-6334

Collen will......

  • Report the death to DFAS (stops members retirement pay)
  • Report death to OPM(if retiree was retired from civil service)
  • Fill out all claims paperwork required to start benefits
  • Set a meeting at your convenience to sign claims paperwork
  • Mail all required document to appropriate agencies
  • Follow up on all claim
  • Answer questions/concerns
  • Stay in Touch

Collen Bogs is available to assist all military spouses or next of kin:
Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Reservist. She can also assist with civil claims.


The funeral home will assist you in filing any insurance policies of the deceased. Unless otherwise specified, we will file an assignment for the amount of funeral expenses. Most insurance companies require a certified death certificate to be sent with additional paperwork (original policy, claim form, assignment & certified death certificate.) Once the funeral home has received the proceeds from the insurance company, a receipt will be sent to you showing what has been paid. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks before the funeral home receives payment.


  • Notification of Death: Call deceased's employer to finalize any death benefits that may be due. Some benefits may be payable from previous employers as well. Contact fraternal, civic, social, religious organizations, U.S. Post Office, Voter Registration Bureau, newspaper, magazine and catalog mail companies to remove deceased name.
  • Contact all Health and Dental Insurance Companies about name changes benefits. Review your own insurance needs. Often these needs can change after the death of a family member or loved one. Good organization of your own insurance information can aid survivors at the time this information is needed. Check the beneficiary on each policy. If there is a deceased beneficiary, you will need to request a change of beneficiary form from the insurance company and return it to the insurance company involved
  • Contact Credit Card Companies to notify them of the death, some credit cards and charge accounts include a life insurance policy with them. They may require a certified copy of the death certificate. If the card is held jointly, find out what documentation is needed to change the cards into the survivor's name. Ask the credit bureau to assist you in determining any outstanding obligations of the deceased.
  • Contact each Bank or Financial Institution in which the deceased held an account. If the deceased had their Social Security check direct deposited, the bank needs to know as soon as possible.
  • Contact any financial institution where the deceased had a loan and inform them of the death. They will be able to inform you if the loan was covered by credit life insurance and if so, what needs to be done to file the appropriate claim. A certified death certificate is often required.
  • Other assets that need to be changed include real estate, car titles, (Department of Motor Vehicles = (803)896-5000 or, Boats (Department of Natural Resources = (803)734-3857 or, trailers, stocks, and other bank accounts and safety deposit boxes. You may need to begin probate proceedings to obtain legal ownership of these assets.
  • Contact all sources of Retirement Funds; including IRA's that the deceased was receiving and apply to any benefit you are due. You may need a certified copy of the death certificate for this.
  • Change all Utilities from the deceased's name. It is a good idea for widowers to use only your first initial and last name when listing your name in the phone book. This will help avert any unwanted or prank calls. Many if not all these accounts should be placed in a joint account with another family member to help in processing future estates.
  • You may want to consult an attorney, if you use an attorney, you will have to pay for their services. However, the help you receive will be invaluable.
  • Keep extra certified copies of the death certificate to send with your income tax returns if you still file. You may need to file a final return for the deceased or estate income tax returns if the estate itself generates any income.