Why Estate Planning Matters for Military Personnel
The unique circumstances of military life make estate planning particularly important for service members and veterans. For example, deployments and overseas assignments can put you at a higher risk of unexpected life situations. An overseas assignment can be stressful in and of itself, and leaving your family behind can make it even more difficult. Having an estate plan in place prior to deployment will ensure that your affairs are in order and your wishes are respected, even when you aren’t around to handle them personally.
Another important consideration is any life insurance benefits you may have as a veteran or military service member. Many of those involved with the military have significant life insurance benefits through the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. As of 2023, the maximum benefit you can select through this program is $500,000. Estate planning will ensure that these proceeds reach your loved ones when they need it the most.
Planning for retirement is another crucial factor to consider. Members who have actively served for at least 20 years are typically eligible to receive active duty retirement compensation. There are currently three non-disability retirement plans in place for these service members. Determining which plan(s) you are eligible to receive and best suit your future needs is a critical step for any estate plan. If you need more assistance planning for your future retirement needs, we partner with a number of trusted financial advisors who can guide you.
If you have minor children, you should consider appointing a guardian for them to ensure they will be protected and cared for in the event of your death. This can be particularly difficult to consider, but there is a peace of mind knowing that your children will be taken care of if you are no longer able to do so. This is especially important to have in place if both parents are military service members.
As we commemorate Veterans Day, let us honor the sacrifices made by our brave veterans and military service members. By understanding the unique considerations that apply to those serving our nation, we can ensure that your wishes are respected and your legacies are protected. By taking proactive steps today, you can safeguard your future, your family, and your benefits.