Memorial Day just passed two weeks ago and it is so important to honor those that served our country. This is also a time for members of the military and their family to consider in setting up to create a special estate plan or revising an existing one. It is a special estate plan because it involves special benefits and resources. This type of planning needs to be considered by military members because there are some estate planning issues that others (non-military members) do not have. This also applies when one or more family members are deployed overseas. Everyone’s situation is different and it can get complicated. For this reason, it is important that you seek special counseling if you are a military family.

If you just started in the military or you are a seasoned veteran, there are some common factors to consider about your estate planning needs. Let’s take a look at them below:

Factors to Consider:

Below are some reasons and circumstances why everyone’s estate plan should be customized.

  • You own real property, also if the real estate is located in different states
  • You’re married
  • You have minor children, or children with special needs
  • You have retirement money set aside in 401(k), IRAs, or thrift savings plans
  • You plan on giving to charity
  • You move multiple times across states or to different countries

Estate Planning Necessities:

Military families have many benefits offered to them which can help with estate planning. These include:

Life insurance – A type of benefit is used in an estate plan especially for those who are financially dependent upon the military member. This is especially important if a member of the military is heading out to a combat zone. This financial vehicle is also a lost cost life insurance to themselves and their loved ones. You can find out more on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. When examining your life insurance, we can help you assure your designated beneficiary will work the way you expect it to be.

Wills and Trusts – someone in your choosing who will carry out your wishes like how your property should be distributed, a last will and testament will do that. It will specify who will manage your estate, care for a minor or special need child. On the other hand, A trust is a separate legal entity where it can hold assets and property for the benefit of one or more entity or people. For the majority of families, a trust-centered estate plan is more appropriate, but a will can also fit for some families just depending on your needs and situation.

Other survivor benefits – survivor benefit plans (SBP) are annuities similar to a pension plan that will pay the surviving spouse and children on a monthly basis. Also, the dependency and indemnity compensation (D&IC) have a monthly income to survivors of veterans and servicemembers that requires eligibility as:

  • Death during active duty
  • Death from service-related disease or injury
  • Getting VA compensation for service-related disability or complete disability.

For your plans to turn out right like making sure any beneficiary designations will go as expected and maximize the benefit to you family, MMZ LAW can help you can examine your financial service(s) and/or product(s).

Getting Special Help

Estate planning for military families is more complicated than most because of frequent moving, having access to many govt. benefits after service, and can be subject to some unusual tax rules.

An estate planning professional can assist you with creating a plan for:

  • Powers of attorney for limited & general financial matters, health care decisions (a big help especially when the spouse in deployed)
  • Funeral and burial arrangements
  • Wills and living wills
  • Organ donation
  • Family care plans
  • Life insurance
  • Trusts
  • Estate taxes
  • Survivor benefits
  • Estate administration & probate

As you can see, there are many factors that play in setting up an estate plan for military families. It will target objectives to provide for your family’s financial security, solidify your property is preserved and passed on to your beneficiaries and determine the person to manage your assets when you pass. MMZ LAW is here to guide you to create the most appropriate estate plan available to you and your loved ones. We are located in the Claremont Village near surrounding cities of Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Pomona and Glendora. Give us call at (909) 256-6702 and schedule your FREE consultation. You deserve the best for yourself and your family.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of trust and estate, elder law, special needs, conservatorship, trust administration and probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only