The information contained on this website is designed to educate and inform service members and their families on their personal legal affairs. Nothing contained in the website is a substitute for the competent legal advice of a licensed attorney. Service members and their families seeking legal advice should consult the staff of the nearest installation Legal Assistance Office.

You’re a guardian of your country and your family. To safeguard your family’s financial future, consider taking steps that help you gain control of your property and other assets so you can provide for your family for the long term. Military OneSource provides resources, services and information on many legal matters and offers advice to help secure your family’s future.

Here are the essentials:

Write a last will and testament.

With this legal document, you dictate your wishes for after your death. Without a will (or similar testamentary instrument, such as a trust), state law governs how your property will be distributed and who should be responsible for the care of your children. You can change your will at any time as long as you meet certain conditions.

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Designate someone to hold power of attorney over your affairs.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the authority to act on your behalf on legal or financial matters after your death or if you become unable to handle your own affairs. Certain types of powers of attorney can also allow your designated person to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become unable to handle your own affairs. When drafting a power of attorney, you can choose between general, special and durable powers of attorney.

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Create a living will.

Also known as an advanced medical directive, a living will allows you to describe the medical treatments you want or don’t want in the event of a serious injury or terminal illness. You can also designate someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so via a power of attorney. In some cases, it makes sense to have both a living will and a durable health care power of attorney.

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Seek out estate-planning resources.

Military OneSource can provide you with resources to begin or update your estate plan, including guidance from an estate planning attorney at your installation’s legal assistance office. Other organizations that can provide legal assistance include the Defense Finance and Accounting Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Visit their websites for more information as well as Military OneSource.

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The information contained on this website is designed to educate and inform service members and their families on their personal legal affairs. Nothing contained in the website is a substitute for the competent legal advice of a licensed attorney. Service members and their families seeking legal advice should consult the staff of the nearest installation Legal Assistance Office.