Estate Planning for the Military Family

Members of the armed forces about to be deployed have a lot on their minds, but one thing on the checklist needs to be making sure their legal and financial affairs are in order.  With a little planning, servicemen and women deployed overseas can serve their country with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their family and their future security are provided for.

For too many of us, the necessities of estate planning are easy to forestall. However, for a military family, the exigencies of the present are too great to ignore. Proper planning is an immediate concern.

How can military families properly plan? A recent Forbes article titled “Make a Legal and Financial To-Do List Before Military Deployment” sheds some practical light.

Essentially, military plans always are based on battlefield “contingencies.” Whether over there or on the home front, changes on the “battlefield” are hard to predict. For example, for a deploying soldier (sailor, airman, marine or coast guardsman), have you secured enough life insurance to provide for your family? If yes, does your life insurance specifically carve out war, war-risk, service casualties, and the like as exclusions? Regardless, make sure you maximize any government-offered life insurance, as it does not exclude such risks.

Ultimately, do not ignore making proper estate plans as well. Be sure to coordinate your estate planning with the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and other assets. While a Legal Assistance Officer in your local Judge Advocate General’s Office can assist, most state bar associations have attorneys who will assist you at little, if any, financial cost.

Reference: Forbes (June 28, 2012) “Make a Legal and Financial To-Do List Before Military Deployment

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