Estate planning while you’re active duty is relatively simple because there are programs in place to help you. But there’s a good chance that your needs have changed since you left the service. If you have settled in California at the end of your military career, you might need to adjust your estate plan to ensure you’ve considered how your civilian benefits and savings line up with any military ones.
If you have previously served in the US military you need an experienced estate planning lawyer to help you. This is because you may be eligible to receive veterans’ benefits such as pension, medical care, and life insurance and these benefits will play a very key role in developing an overall financial plan for your future. If you are currently on permanent disability and unable to work you may be tapping into your veterans’ pension as your primary source of income and support. The veterans’ pension provides tax free supplemental income that you and your family may need. Veterans’ medical benefits are also available to those who served in active duty and were discharged under honorable conditions. If you did not get veterans’ group life insurance through the Department of Affairs and have obtained private coverage, you’ll want to incorporate this as part of your estate plan. Any and all benefits you receive as a veteran should be incorporated into your broader estate plan so that you can make decisions about how best to protect your loved ones.
Leaving the military means you have lost an important safety net and planning feature. The military takes care of a lot of different details associated with your planning and it is important to evaluate these as soon as possible after you transition out.
If you’re now living in California post-service and need help with your estate plan, schedule a meeting with our Pasadena estate lawyers.