When it comes to estate planning, veterans have special hurdles. They need to understand their eligibility for benefits, protect their assets, and ensure they leave behind a legacy that aligns with their values.
Creating Beneficiary Designations
Beneficiary designations are a type of estate planning that determines the ownership of assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets. They should be carefully reviewed and updated to reflect current reality. When a beneficiary designation is incorrect, someone other than the intended recipient may receive the asset or policy proceeds upon death. Many veterans want to leave cherished items and property, such as sentimental medals or homes, to their loved ones. Sometimes, the family could be forced to split these valuables or even their house among heirs, creating division and negative feelings. A skilled veterans benefits planning Louisville KY firm can assist veterans with their planning and provide peace of mind knowing their loved ones will be provided for how they want them to be. This can also reduce the likelihood of a conflict over inheritance that might impact eligibility for veterans’ benefits. This includes service-connected disability compensation, pension benefits and long-term care assistance.
Working with an Attorney
Many veterans know that the VA offers healthcare options but may need to become more familiar with all the available programs. There are programs geared towards specific health issues like heart problems as well as general disability benefits that cover those who were injured in service. Several programs provide financial support for low-income veterans and their families. This includes assistance with home mortgages, insurance costs, and burial allowances. In addition, survivor’s benefits are available to widows and children dependent on the veteran at their death. Working with a firm that provides veterans’ estate planning services can help ensure that all of these benefits are maximized. A lawyer can help to determine a veteran’s eligibility and help them navigate the complex rules surrounding these benefits. An attorney can also assist with setting up trusts to protect assets and ensure that a veteran’s wishes are respected during incapacity.
Understanding Your Eligibility
Several benefits are available to veterans based on their military service. These programs provide financial, medical and other assistance. Those who meet certain eligibility requirements may receive pension benefits, such as Aid and Attendance, designed to help cover long-term care costs. It’s important to understand these eligibility requirements when creating an estate plan, so your family can take advantage of these benefits.
The law defines veterans preference as “a special preference provided in hiring and promotion proceedings to eligible persons who have a period of active duty or a period of inactive duty for training that overlaps with a wartime service period.” The dates on your discharge paperwork determine this eligibility, so keeping those documents safe is important. Those who qualify are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles on competitive lists or are granted a special noncompetitive appointment during reductions in force.
Creating a Will or Trust
Military families live by the motto, “No one ever knows what tomorrow will bring.” Between long training periods, deployments and relocating across the country or to another continent, service members and their families have to be prepared for anything. A comprehensive estate plan provides a means for veterans to ensure their wishes are carried out after they pass away, avoid costly and time-consuming probate proceedings, minimize taxes and support charitable causes. It can also help ensure that any assets received from the VA are properly managed. Many veterans rely on Social Security and Medicaid to pay for their medical expenses, and proper estate planning can help protect these benefits by ensuring that any decisions and assets do not affect eligibility. In addition, many veterans are eligible for Aid and Attendance, which can help defray the cost of in-home care or assisted living facilities. An attorney can guide how to maximize these benefits.