Estate planning is a process of developing and implementing a plan that determines the distribution of your property and assets after your death. Depending on your personal situation, your estate plan can be very simple or quite complex. At a minimum, every person should have the following:
- a will;
- a living will; and
- a health care power of attorney.
For basic needs, your installation JAG or legal services office (usually open to retirees in addition to Active Duty) is usually sufficient.
As you accumulate more assets and your situation becomes more complicated, you may need some additional estate planning tools. Also, special circumstances such as divorce, remarriage, marriage to a non-US Spouse and children with special needs require legal documents specifically tailored to meet your new circumstances.
Additional estate planning tools could include:
- a durable power of attorney;
- a revocable living trust;
- an irrevocable life insurance trust;
- a minor's trust;
- a special needs trust; and
- various types of charitable trusts.
These advanced estate planning documents may be outside the scope of the installation legal services office, so you may need to seek the help of a qualified private practice attorney.
The MOAA Estate Planning Guide is a primer to get you started. MOAA does not have legal assistance on staff. Please consult with your lawyer for specifics.