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ESTATE PLANNING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES

Servicemembers & Veterans

No matter the time of year, it is always a good opportunity for members of the military and their loved ones to consider setting up —or revising an existing —estate plan. Military families need to consider special estate-planning issues that others do not. This is particularly true when one or more family members are deployed overseas. Beyond this, members of the military have access to  special  benefits  and  resources.  This  can  become  complicated  and,  for  this  reason,  it  is important to seek special help if you are a military family. 


Whether  you  are  just  starting  your  service  in  the  military  or  have  been  serving  for  some  time, consider the following common factors that may be important in your estate planning.


Factors to Consider

Estate  plans  should  be  customized to each person’s particular circumstances. In your estate planning, you should consider whether:


●You own real property and, if so, if it is located in different states;

●You are married;

●You have minor children, or children with special needs;

●You have money set aside in 401(k), IRAs, or thrift savings plans;

●You plan to give to charity; and

●You are moving multiple times across states or to different countries.


Estate Planning Necessities

There  are  many  benefits  offered  to  military  families  that can  help  with  estate  planning.  These include:


Life insurance -Life insurance is an important part of an estate plan intended for those who are financially  dependent  upon  you,  especially  if  you  are  facing  deployment.  Active-duty  members have access to low-cost life insurance for themselves and their loved ones from Service Members’ Life  Insurance  Group.  More  information  can  be  found  on  the Department  of  Veterans  Affairs website.  When  examining  your life  insurance,  work  with  us  to  make  sure  that  the  beneficiary designation works the way you expect.


Will -A will is a crucial document outlining to whom and how you want your property distributed at your death. It also allows you to name who will administer your estate and specify who will care for a minor or special needs children. 


Trust -A trust is a separate legal entity that can hold property and assets for the benefit of one or more people or entities. Similar to a will, a trust allows you to dictate who will receive your property at your death and how it is to be administered. The added benefit of a trust is that it also provides instructions on how to handle the assets during any period of your incapacity. For most families, a trust-centered estate plan is a better fit, but a will can work for some families.


Other benefits for survivors -Survivor benefit plans (SBP) are pension-type plans in the form of an  annuity  that  will  pay  your  surviving  spouse  and  children  a  monthly  benefit  at  your  death. Likewise, dependency and indemnity compensation (D&IC) provides a monthly benefit to eligible survivors of servicemembers or veterans (1) who die while on active duty, (2) whose death is due to  a  service-related  disease  or  injury,  or  (3)  who  are  receiving  or  entitled  to  receive  VA compensation for a service-related disability and are totally disabled. When you are examining any financial service or insurance product, it’s a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney to make sure any beneficiary designations work the way you expect and provide the maximum benefit to your family.


You Need Special Help

Members  of  the  military  often  experience  frequent  moves,  have  access  to  several  forms  of government  benefits  after  service,  and  can  be  subject  to  some  unusual  tax  rules.  For  these reasons, estate planning for military families is more complicated than most. You can expect an estate planning professional to assist you in setting up the following:


●Powers of attorney for financial matters, as well as health care decisions (they are very helpful when a spouse is deployed);

●Funeral and burial arrangements;

●Wills and living wills;

●Organ donation;

●Family care plans;

●Life insurance;

●Trusts;

●Estate taxes;

●Survivor benefits; and

●Estate administration and/or probate.


An estate plan has multiple objectives: to provide for your family’s financial security, ensure your property is preserved and passed on to your beneficiaries, and determine who will manage your assets  upon  your  death,  among  others.  We  are  here  to  guide  you  through  the  best  options available to you and your family. Give us a call today at 632-9620 or 632-9621.  
 

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As a Veteran myself, I understand firsthand what your needs for Estate Planning are.  I want to help you while you serve our country and protect our freedom.  Call my office today to set your FREE CONSULTATION.