For those who have served in the military, estate planning takes on unique considerations. Veterans have earned specific benefits and honors due to their service, and it's essential that these are incorporated into an estate and long-term care plan. Here are some key points veterans should consider:
1. Safeguarding Your DD214
Your DD214, or Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, is a crucial document. It verifies your military service and is required to access many veterans' benefits. Ensure that:
· Your family knows where to find your DD214.
· You keep it in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
· Consider giving a copy to your attorney or trusted family member.
2. Expressing Burial Preferences
If you wish to be buried in a veterans' cemetery:
· Make this known in your will or other estate planning documents.
· Discuss your wishes with family members so they are aware.
· Remember, burial in a national cemetery is a benefit available to all veterans and their spouses, but planning ahead can ensure your wishes are honored.
3. Period of War Service
If you served during a recognized period of war:
· Inform your family, as this can affect eligibility for certain benefits.
· Document any combat or special duty pay, as this can also impact benefits.
4. Aid and Attendance Pension
The Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require assistance with daily living. If you qualify:
· Ensure your family is aware of this potential benefit.
· Document any health conditions or needs that might make you eligible.
· Consider discussing with an attorney or VA-accredited representative to understand the full range of benefits available.
5. Other Benefits
Veterans may be eligible for various benefits, including:
· Education and training.
· Home loan guarantees.
· Health care benefits.
Ensure that your family is aware of these potential benefits and knows how to access them.
6. Estate and Long-Term Care Planning with a Veterans Focus
Consider working with an attorney familiar with veterans' planning. They can guide you in integrating these benefits into your broader estate plan, ensuring you and your family maximize the advantages available due to your service.
Your military service has provided you with unique benefits and considerations. By incorporating these into your estate plan, you ensure that your wishes are honored, and your family can access the benefits you've earned. If you have questions or need guidance on estate planning as a veteran, our Woodstock elder lawyers are here to assist. Contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule an appointment.