Helpful Checklist for Veterans

ChecklistThis checklist is designed to provide Veterans and their loved ones with help when excessing entitlements.

While this  checklist isn’t all-inclusive it is a good tool to get the discussion started with your estate planning attorney. Be sure to create and maintain these files:

  • Military File. This should include your retirement paperwork such as your DD 214, separation papers and medical records.
  • Military Retired Pay File. Make sure you have the claim number of any pending VA claims, along with the address of the VA office being used, a list of current deductions from benefits, and the name, relationship and address of the beneficiary for any unpaid retired pay at the time of death.
  • Annuities File. Be sure to include information about the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP), the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) and your civil service annuity.
  • Personal Document File. This should have your marriage records, divorce decrees, adoption records and naturalization papers.
  • Income Tax File. Retain copies of all of your state and federal income tax returns.
  • Property Tax File. This should include copies of tax bills, deeds and any other related information.
  • Insurance Policy File. Keep your life insurance, property, accident, liability insurance and hospitalization and medical insurance records here.
  • Important Contacts. Maintain a list of banking and credit information in a secure location. This should include bank account numbers, the location of all deposit boxes, savings bond information, all stocks, bonds, and any securities, credit card account numbers and mailing addresses and 401(k) accounts.
  • Memberships. Keep a membership listing of all associations and organizations with their contact and membership fee information.
  • Family and Business Contacts. Create a list of all friends and business associates and their contact information.

After preparing all of this, make sure to address the following:

  • Burial. Have a discussion with your next of kin about your wishes for burial and funeral services. Include the cemetery location and type of burial. You should also consider pre-arranging your funeral services at your local funeral home.
  • Will. Once your decisions have been made and you’re comfortable with them, have a will prepared outlining specifics by an estate planning attorney.
  • Notifications. Be sure that your will and all other important documents are kept in a secure place, and let your family know where the documents are located. Some of the organizations to be notified in the event of a retiree death include:
  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service;
  • Social Security Administration (for death benefits);
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (if applicable);
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM);
  • Any fraternal groups of which you are a member; and
  • Any previous employers that provide pension or benefits.

Reference: Wadena (MN) Pioneer-Journal (January 21, 2017) “What survivors should know; A veteran/retiree checklist”


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.