You just received your orders, and you will be deployed shortly. No matter the time frame, there is still time to make sure your affairs are in order.
1. Review or prepare a Family Care Plan
Regardless of the branch of the military in which you are serving, you may be required to complete a Family Care Plan. It is usually required for single parents, dual service member couples with dependents, those who are married with custody or joint custody of a child whose non-custodial biological or adoptive parent is not the current spouse of the service member, or those who otherwise bear sole responsibility for the care of children under the age of 19 or for others unable to care for themselves in the absence of the service member, or those who are primarily responsible for a dependent family member.
This plan consists of written instructions to your loved ones on how to manage day-to-day activities and any necessary legal documents. It will also document who will care for your family members when you are unable to due to being away and that the specified caregiver has agreed to do so.
2. Review or have estate planning documents prepared
To ensure that your wishes are carried out, it is important that they are written down. This can be accomplished through the use of a will or a trust. If you have a will already, it is important to make sure that it still reflects your wishes. If you have gotten married or had children since the will was first prepared, it is important that the document be updated. Also, if you have gotten married or had a child since you first had the will prepared, you may want to consider having a trust prepared. While a will and a trust will both distribute your assets according to your wishes, a trust has the added benefit of allowing the administration to take place without court involvement and offering asset protection for the beneficiaries.
3. Review or complete beneficiary designations
As a service member, you may have access to life insurance policies or other survivor benefits. It is important that you review these policies to make sure that the recipient is who you would like to receive the benefits. As mentioned before, this is especially important if you have recently gotten married or had children.
4. Assess your life insurance needs
When planning for the financial security of your family, it is important to assess the needs of your family. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Service members’ Group Life Insurance coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000. However, if you need more than this, it is important that you research your other options.
We are here to help
You have made a heroic decision to serve your country, and we are here to serve you. If you have any questions about starting or reviewing your estate plans, please give us a call to speak with an experienced Madison Estate Planning Attorney.