Military Estate Planning

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Due to the nature of their employment people in the military need estate plans so that their families are taken care of no matter what happens.

Everyone should have at least a basic estate plan because it is impossible to know when an accident or serious illness might happen. This is especially true for people who are employed in dangerous occupations like members of the armed forces.

Recently, Kiplinger's wrote about some of the estate planning tools available for members of the military in "Estate Planning for Military Families."

The advice includes:

  • Low Cost Life Insurance – Active duty military members are able to purchase low cost term life insurance through the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance plan.
  • Legal Documents – Most on-base legal assistance offices are able to draft basic wills and powers of attorney for members of the military. For some younger people these documents might be enough, but others might consider hiring a civilian estate planning attorney.
  • Beneficiary Designations – Military members need to be certain that the beneficiary designations on their IRAs, life insurance and thrift accounts are always up to date.
  • Military Pensions – Those who qualify for a military pension can decide to have it continue for a beneficiary after they pass away. This does come at a cost and reduces the amount of retirement pay received for those who choose the option.
  • Other Benefits – Surviving spouses can roll payments received from the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance plan into an IRA. This is a great option for people who do not have an immediate need for the life insurance payment.

Reference: Kiplinger's (May 27, 2016) "Estate Planning for Military Families."

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