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You just received your orders, and you will be deployed shortly. Act now to make sure your affairs are in order to give your family additional peace of mind during your absence. Keep reading for some tips on how to get started.
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 in the following circumstances:
- Single parent service members
- Dual service member couples with dependents
- Service members 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
- Service members who 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 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 deployed and that the specified caregiver has agreed to do so.
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, depending on your assets and your family circumstances, you may want to consider having a trust prepared. While a will and a trust will both distribute your assets according to your wishes if they’re properly drafted and executed, a trust has the added benefit of allowing the administration to take place without court involvement and offering asset protection for the beneficiaries. A trust also makes it easier to name someone to manage your assets during your lifetime while you’re out of the country.
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 payable-on-death recipient matches your current intentions. As mentioned before, this is especially important if you have recently gotten married or have children.
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 Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage is available in $50,000 increments, up to the maximum of $400,000. However, we recommend that you talk to a financial advisor or life insurance agent to determine an appropriate amount of insurance for your family’s unique needs and goals.
We are here to help
You have made a heroic decision to serve your country. Littleton Legal is here to serve you to protect your family while you are deployed. If you have any questions about starting or reviewing your estate plans, please give us a call (918) 608-1836.