Developing a strong estate plan is an important step for every adult. If you served in the Armed Forces, you might have additional estate planning options available to you. A dedicated attorney could advise you of your options and help you develop the right plan for the future.
While there are some different options available to veterans, estate planning for veterans in Houston is often like developing an estate plan for anyone else. Whether you are considering wills, trusts, or even life insurance, the right legal counsel could be beneficial in developing an estate plan to suit your needs.
The Importance of an Estate Plan
An estate plan is important for every veteran, but especially for veterans with children. By establishing an estate plan, a veteran could have ultimate control over who cares for their children or receives their property upon their death.
There is a common misconception that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy. In reality, a strong estate plan could make sense for any veteran concerned with their final arrangements or even their end-of-life care. In addition to distributing assets to beneficiaries, an estate plan can also ensure a person’s wishes are respected as it relates to their medical treatment if they are no longer able to care for themselves.
Planning Tools for Veterans
The planning tools available to veterans are numerous. The right combination of options could help ensure a veteran’s final wishes are adhered to while avoiding any unnecessary tax burdens for their heirs.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament is often the centerpiece of an estate plan. While simple estates might need little more than one of these documents, more complex estates could rely on a will to coordinate other planning tools like living trusts.
A last will and testament is a formal written document that spells out a veterans’ final wishes. It designates which property goes to each individual beneficiary, but the document must comply with certain technical requirements to be valid.
Living trusts are another popular estate planning option for veterans in Houston. A trust is a legal entity that takes ownership of a veteran’s assets. These trusts could allow the veteran to live off of these assets during their lifetime and then transfer them to designated beneficiaries upon their passing. These options can help individuals avoid tax consequences or the probate process in general.
A living will is routinely referred to as an advanced medical directive. This type of estate planning tool is designed to protect a veteran’s rights when they are no longer competent to handle their own medical decisions. A living will sets out a person’s wishes in specific medical situations. If that individual is incapacitated, their medical providers are required to adhere to the wishes reflected in the living will.
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance
Veterans have access to low-cost life insurance known as Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. Life insurance is a viable estate planning tool, as beneficiaries of these policies could recover benefits much faster than through a will. This is because there is no need to go through probate to obtain these benefits.
Talk to an Attorney About Estate Planning for Veterans
Before you reach a final decision on your estate plan, talk to an experienced attorney. You could benefit from a discussion with a lawyer that understands how to get the most out of a veteran’s estate plan. Call immediately to set up a confidential consultation.