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How estate planning for veterans is different

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is for everyone, not just the very wealthy or elderly. If you are an adult in Arkansas, estate planning is an essential way to protect your financial interests and ensure you get end-of-life care the way you want, even if you become incapacitated. It also communicates who should inherit your assets after you pass away, giving you full control over that process. Finally, if your children are still young, an estate plan places them with people you trust to raise them if you and your spouse die.

What is unique about estate planning for active duty servicemembers and veterans

Veterans are no exception to benefiting from estate planning, no matter their age and income. But estate planning for a veteran can be very different than for a civilian. That is because most veterans are entitled to several benefits that only apply to current and former U.S. servicemembers. These include:

  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, which is a policy every servicemember has while they are still on active duty. As a veteran, you can continue this coverage through Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.
  • Survivor benefits for your spouse and children if you die of an injury or illness incurred or aggravated during your service.
  • Funeral and burial benefits through Veterans’ Affairs.
  • In some cases, your spouse can receive survivor benefits through your pension.

Besides helping ensure your next of kin receive these benefits, active-duty servicemembers must prepare for the possibility they will be killed in combat. If your co-parent predeceased you or is unable to take custody of the children, your estate plan can designate who their legal guardians would be. You can choose relatives or close friends for this important job. You can also add an advance medical directive and powers of attorney if an injury or illness incapacitates you. In your medical directive, you lay out what kind of life-saving and -extending care you would and would not want, such as a ventilator or feeding tube.

A knowledge of benefits and estate planning law

As a veteran, your estate planning would go smoother working with a lawyer who understands where estate planning and veterans’ benefits intersect. Otherwise, errors could cost your loved ones unnecessary time and money someday.