Before your deployment, it’s a good idea to review your financial affairs and put things in order. You will make life a little easier for your loved ones and for yourself when you return.
1. Create a Family Care Plan
Family Care Plans are usually required for single parents, dual service member couples with dependents, those who are married with custody or joint custody of a child whose non-custodial parent is not a spouse, or those who otherwise bear sole responsibility for the care of children under the age of 19. Plans are also needed if you’re responsible for others who cannot care for themselves in the absence of a service member (you), or those who are responsible for a dependent family member.
This plan consists of written instructions to your loved ones on how to manage day-to-day activities, and the plan will be connected with necessary legal documents. The plan will also document who will care for your family members when you are away and will contain proof of their agreement to do this.
2. Prepare estate planning documents
To ensure that your wishes are carried out, you’ll need to write them down by creating a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust. If you have a Will already, make sure that it still reflects your wishes. Update your Will if you have gotten married or had children since the Will was first prepared. Also, if you have gotten married or had a child since you first had the Will prepared, you may want to create a trust to hold your assets until your beneficiaries can receive them. A Will and a Trust will both distribute your assets according to your wishes, but a Trust specifically allows the administration to take place without court involvement and it can better protect your assets and preserve them for your beneficiaries.
3. Review your beneficiary designations
As a service member, you may have access to survivor benefits, like a life insurance policy. If you do, review your policies to make sure your recipients are correctly named. This is especially important if you have recently gotten married or had children.
4. Assess your life insurance needs
When planning for your family’s financial security, it is important to assess their unique needs. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000. But you’ll want to research other options if your family happens to need more.