Estate Planning for Veterans: A Tribute During Military Appreciation Month

estate planning for veterans

May is National Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces.

While we often show our appreciation through parades, ceremonies, and other forms of recognition, one of the most important ways we can support our veterans is by helping them plan for the future.

Estate planning is particularly crucial for military families, who may face unique challenges and considerations when protecting their assets and providing for their loved ones.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of estate planning for veterans and their families, some unique considerations to keep in mind, and the five components of a well-rounded estate plan for veterans. If you are an active or retired military member or spouse and need help with your estate plan, contact a Santa Barbara estate planning attorney to book your planning session.

The Importance of Estate Planning for Military Families

Estate planning is crucial for military families, as they face unique challenges due to their service to our country.

From protecting assets to ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth, estate planning can provide much-needed peace of mind for military families.

Here are some reasons estate planning for veterans is so important:

  • Protection of assets — Estate planning ensures that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.
  • Providing for loved ones — By creating a comprehensive estate plan, veterans can ensure their loved ones are provided for financially, and their healthcare wishes are respected.
  • Avoiding probate — Estate planning can help avoid costly and time-consuming probate proceedings.
  • Minimizing taxes — Proper estate planning can help minimize tax liabilities and maximize the estate’s value.
  • Supporting charitable causes — Veterans can use estate planning to give to charities that are important to them.
  • Planning for incapacity — Estate planning allows veterans to plan for their incapacity and ensure their wishes are carried out even if they cannot make decisions for themselves.
  • Honoring military service — Estate planning can include provisions that honor a veteran’s military service, such as providing for a military funeral or donating to veterans’ organizations.

Estate planning is vital for veterans and their families to ensure their wishes are respected, and their assets are protected.

By working with an experienced estate planning attorney, veterans can create a comprehensive plan that provides peace of mind and honors their service to the country.

Veterans Benefits and Estate Planning

As a veteran, it’s important to understand how veterans benefits impact your estate planning. From pensions to disability compensation, veterans benefits can significantly shape your financial future and ensure your loved ones are provided for after you’re gone.

Disability Benefits

Service-connected disability compensation is available to veterans injured or ill due to their military service. This compensation can be a significant source of income for disabled veterans, but it can also impact eligibility for other benefits such as Medicaid or SSI.

Pension Benefits

Pension benefits are available to veterans who meet certain criteria, such as having served during wartime and having limited income and assets. Veterans eligible for pension benefits may also be eligible for additional benefits such as Aid and Attendance, which provides financial assistance for long-term care.

Components of a Comprehensive Estate Plan for Veterans

Creating a comprehensive estate plan requires carefully considering your circumstances and goals.

Here are five key components of an estate plan for military families:

  1. Last Will and Testament — legal document that outlines an individual’s wishes for the distribution of their assets after death
  2. Trust legal arrangement that allows a trustee to manage and distribute assets to beneficiaries according to specific instructions
  3. Power of attorney — legal document that grants authority to another person to make financial and healthcare decisions on behalf of an individual
  4. Living wills/advance directive legal documents that outline an individual’s healthcare wishes in the event they become unable to make decisions for themselves
  5. Designation of beneficiaries — process of naming individuals who will receive retirement account and life insurance policy benefits upon an individual’s death

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure your plan is tailored to your needs and considers any unique considerations related to your military service.

Plan for the Future Today

Honoring our veterans means more than just thanking them for their service – it means supporting them in practical ways, such as through estate planning.

As we honor our military this month, our Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law team wants to give back by offering $500 off an updated or new estate plan to active duty and veteran military families.

If you’re a veteran or a member of a military family, now is the time to start planning for the future.

Contact us at Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law today to take advantage of this promotion and take the first step toward securing your legacy.

Author Bio

Julianna Malis is the Founder and Managing Partner of Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law, a Santa Barbara estate planning law firm she founded in 2014. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law, she has dedicated her career to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, Medicaid and Medicare planning, probate, and other estate planning areas.

Julianna received her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific — McGeorge School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar Association.

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