8 Important Estate Planning Tools for Service Members
By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
Estate planning is crucial for everyone. But, military members need a good plan even more than most other people. Here are 8 important estate planning tools for service members.
(1) Durable Powers of Attorney
Durable Powers of Attorney allow someone (or a few someones) you trust to handle your matters on your behalf. They do not take your right to control your assets away, but they do allow someone to act for you when you need it.
For instance, if you are stationed out-of-state or out-of-country, your chosen loved one can take care of matters at home for you, such as paying your mortgage and other bills. Or, if you become ill or have to go to the hospital while out of town, your attorney-in-fact can help you pay your medical bills (should there be any).
(2) Advance Directives for Health Care
Advance Directives allow you to decide what you would want to happen to you if you are unable to make decisions and certain medical situations arise.
The Living Will walks you through a series of questions about common situations where you are not able to make decisions for yourself. You also name a healthcare proxy or proxies who can withhold life-sustaining treatment for you in certain situations and state whether you would like to participate in organ donation.
(3) Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care is expensive. These policies allow you to reduce your costs for long-term care by placing some of that burden on the insurance provider.
The earlier you buy a long-term care policy, the cheaper the policy is.
(4) Last Will and Testaments
Last Will and Testaments allow you to say who gets what when you die. In most states, the Court will determine who gets what if you die without a plan. You may or may not like what the State has planned for you. But, you can be certain you’ll be happy with the results if you plan properly.
A Trust allows your family to avoid the stress and costs of probate. This is because you title your property into the Trust while you are living. So, if you die or can’t take care of yourself, your assets are owned by the Trust and the Trust dictates how assets are used or distributed.
Trusts are especially good for privacy, blended families, and single parents who may have concerns about when their children receive funds or how a Trustee will manage assets for a minor child.
(6) Service Member’s Life Insurance
Service members should have life insurance provided by the military under a Service Member’s Group Life Insurance policy. Depending on your circumstances, you may want additional, private life insurance in place for your family.
Reach out to a trusted insurance agent to decide what is best for your loved ones.
(7) Military Survivor Benefits
Family members of service members are eligible for survivor benefits if a service member dies because of an illness or injury caused or worsened by your time in the service. Some of the benefits through the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs are automatic. But, there are some benefits your family must apply for.
Reach out to your local office to find out what your options are for survivor benefits.
(8) Funeral and Burial Arrangements
Your family will likely be eligible for funeral and burial arrangements through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. But, planning for your funeral and burial arrangement in your estate plan allows you to be sure your wishes for your funeral are followed.
To plan your estate, book a consultation with us today. To thank you for your service and sacrifices, we offer discounts for military members and Veterans.