In their honor, we've assembled this list of helpful estate planning documents that every service member should create or update before deployment:
Last Will and Testament — Everyone needs a will, yet less than half of Americans have one. Make sure that your family is taken care of by outlining your wishes for the distribution of your assets and guardianship of your children in a Last Will and Testament. You can name someone you trust to carry out your wishes and make sure that your loved ones are protected after you are gone.
Living Will — In the event that you are hospitalized and incapacitated, a Living Will will let you outline beforehand the sort of care you'd like to receive. With this document, you can indicate your preferences regarding treatment and resuscitation.
Healthcare Power of Attorney — In lieu of outlining your healthcare decisions as you would in a Living Will, a Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to grant decision-making powers to a trusted representative, such as a spouse, family member or close friend.
Military Power of Attorney — While you are deployed, you many need to have someone act on your behalf while you are away. A Military Power of Attorney allows you grant such authority to a trusted individual to handle your legal or financial matters, including managing real estate transactions, accessing your bank accounts, and filing your taxes, among other activities.
Power of Attorney for Child — As a parent who is being deployed, you'll want to make sure that your children are cared for. A Power of Attorney for Child allows you to grant decision-making power to another caretaker, such as a grandparent or nanny, in your absence. The timeframe of this document is generally limited to six months when not related to military service. However, Federal law allows the power of attorney to last for the full duration of deployment when it comes to military service members who are parents of minor children.
With these five legal documents in hand, you'll be more prepared for the unexpected and will have the peace of mind to focus on what matters most to you and your family. Learn more about how to make an estate plan, or ask a lawyer, if you have specific questions about your situation.
We wish you a safe Memorial Day!
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.