Estate Planning Before Military Deployment
An estate plan has several objectives. It should provide for your family’s financial security, ensure that your property is passed to your beneficiaries as you wish, and determine who will manage your assets and make sure that your estate is distributed properly after your death. Military families need to consider some special estate planning issues that others, outside of the military, do not, especially if family members are deployed overseas. Members of the military also have access to special benefits that may complicate their estate. For this reason, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable estate planning attorney with expertise working with military families in Virginia.
Estate planning documentsMembers of the military often move frequently, are deployed overseas to different countries, and have access to government benefits both during and after service. They may also be subject to unexpected tax rules and issues. Estate planning for military members and their families may be more complicated than for their civilian counterparts. An experienced military estate planning attorney can help you with the following:
- Wills and trusts
- Guardianship for minor children or children with special needs
- Financial powers of attorney
- Advance medical directives (living wills)
- Funeral and burial arrangements
- Organ donation
- Life insurance
- Survivor benefits
- Estate taxes
- Family care plans
- Beneficiary designations
- Estate administration and/or probate
Some factors to considerEveryone’s estate plan should be customized to that person’s specific circumstances. Below are factors that should be considered by your estate planning attorney:
- Are you married?
- Do you have minor children?
- Do you have children with special needs?
- Do you own property? Where is it located? Is it in more than one state or country?
- Do you have an IRA, 401k, or other retirement or pension accounts?
- Do you have life insurance? What types?
- What other military benefits do you have or have taken advantage of?
- Get your legal documents, detailed above, in order.
- Sign up for life insurance.
- Update all beneficiary designations.
- Make survivor decisions on your military pension.
- Find out about other benefits for survivors.