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As retired member of the military, is your estate plan in order?

When you were serving in the military, you probably prepared a will and may have taken out a life insurance policy to provide for your family in case of your death.

How long ago were those documents created? With your recent retirement, you may need to consider updates as well as more in-depth estate planning.

Adjusting to life's changes

Whether you left the military recently or decades ago, changes have undoubtedly taken place in your life. You may have married, divorced, remarried or had children or grandchildren. When major life events occur, they often affect your estate planning documents. For example, who is the beneficiary of the life insurance policy you took out years ago when you were still on active duty? Should you change that beneficiary designation now?

Reviewing your will

You should also make any updates to your will that the passing of time makes feasible. Is the executor you named still alive and willing to serve? Is your will affected by changing tax laws? Should you change any of the beneficiaries? A will also allows you to name guardians or conservators for minor children or elderly dependents.

Protecting assets

Upon your death, assets like real estate, cash accounts and personal items usually go through probate. However, real property and cash are among the items you can put into a trust to keep those assets from having to go through the probate process. Your trustor can also make distributions to your beneficiaries quickly without the usual six- to nine-month delay that probate requires.

Considering powers of attorney

When widening the scope of your estate planning preferences, you may wish to consider powers of attorney. A medical power of attorney allows you to name someone you trust to act on your behalf if you should become incapacitated. The same applies to a financial power of attorney that allows for a trusted individual to manage financial affairs in your stead. If you recover, you simply take back the reins and go on with your life.

Making decisions

You may have spent many years serving your country. If the time has come for you to make some adjustments to your estate plan, rely on legal guidance to help you make the decisions that best serve you and your family.

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