Legal Information Soldiers Need About Wills
Story by: DEP MOB Staff
A will is a legal document that allows you to determine what will happen to your property (estate) at your death. In a will, you may choose someone to distribute your property according to your wishes (executor), someone to care for your minor children (guardian) and someone to look after the assets you leave your minor children (trustee).
What cannot be accomplished through your Will:
Your will cannot choose who will receive your Service member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) proceeds. You must make this selection on your Service member's Group Life Insurance beneficiary designation form. You cannot use your will to disinherit your spouse or cut off allowances for minor children. Finally, you cannot pass jointly held property by your will. When you die, the joint tenant receives full ownership of the property.
There is a way to control your Service member's Group Life Insurance by your Will.
This can be done but only indirectly. You may channel your Life Insurance proceeds through your will by naming a trust created in your will as the beneficiary of your insurance policy. You must do two things to accomplish this.
1st: You must create the beneficiary trust in your will.
2nd: You must name that trust as a beneficiary on your Service member's Group Life Insurance Policy.
To name the trust as a beneficiary, use the following language: "To [trustee's name], trustee of the trust established under my last will and testament for the benefit of my minor children.]"
Do I need a Will?
This is your own personal decision. Without a Will, there is no guarantee that your property will be divided as you wish or that your children will be cared for, as you would like. Without a Will, a court using state laws will make these decisions. If you are married or have children or both, and you do not have a Will, you need to speak with a Legal Assistance Attorney who can assist you in the preparation of your Will. It is very important that both husband and wife have up-to-date Wills in their possession prior to any Soldier's deployment.
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