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    Estate Planning for Veterans: Honoring Your Service Beyond the Uniform

    By Jay Greene, Esq., CPA–

    As a professional estate planning attorney, I’ve had the privilege of working with many veterans and their families. Our brave servicemen and women face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to estate planning. In this article, I will guide you through the essential aspects of estate planning for veterans, offering insight into how to secure your legacy and protect those who matter most to you.

    Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning

    Estate planning is the process of making important decisions about your future, ensuring that your assets and wishes are protected. It’s not just about distributing your wealth; it’s about planning for contingencies, providing for your loved ones, and preserving your values. For veterans, estate planning can be a critical step in securing their legacy, but it often involves special considerations.

    Benefits and Support for Veterans

    One of the significant distinctions for veterans in estate planning is the benefits and support offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans and their families may be eligible for VA pensions and disability compensation, which can be substantial financial resources. Understanding these benefits and how they fit into your estate plan is vital. These benefits can impact your eligibility for certain assistance programs, which lead to the importance of crafting a well-thought-out estate plan.

    Special Considerations for Veterans

    Veterans often face unique challenges, particularly those with service-related disabilities. These challenges might include long-term care needs, special housing requirements, or a desire to ensure survivor benefits for spouses and dependents. By addressing these factors in your estate plan, you can help alleviate some of the stress that veterans and their families might experience.

    Wills and Trusts for Veterans

    Two fundamental tools in estate planning are wills and trusts. Wills allow you to designate how your assets are distributed after your passing, while trusts offer more flexibility and can be tailored to meet specific needs. For veterans, it’s essential to consider the protection and passage of military benefits. In some cases, a trust can be the right choice, especially when dealing with VA benefits.

    Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney

    Healthcare directives, such as living wills and medical powers of attorney, are vital for veterans. They allow you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. With the potential for service-related disabilities, these documents can provide much-needed guidance for your medical care.

    Powers of attorney are equally important for managing financial and legal matters. Designating someone you trust to handle these aspects of your life is crucial, particularly when frequent deployments or long periods of service are involved.

    Guardianship and Dependents

    For veterans with dependents, it’s essential to address guardianship considerations. This ensures that in the event something happens to you, your children or dependents are well cared for. Establishing guardianship plans and providing for minor dependents and special needs family members should be a part of your estate plan.

    Legal Support for Veterans

    Legal support is readily available for veterans. Estate planning attorneys with experience in military matters can provide expert guidance. Additionally, many organizations offer free or reduced-cost legal aid for veterans. Seeking legal support can help navigate complex issues and ensure your estate plan reflects your unique circumstances.

    In conclusion, estate planning for veterans is not just about safeguarding your assets; it’s about protecting your legacy and the well-being of those you love. By understanding the unique benefits and challenges veterans face, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that honors your service and secures your family’s future. I encourage veterans and their families to seek professional advice to ensure their estate plans are tailored to their specific needs and aspirations. Your service to our country deserves nothing less.

    If you are looking for help with your own estate planning needs, or would like to discuss how we can help your loved ones with their plans, please feel free to contact us at or call us ( 415-905-0215 ).

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Statements In Compliance with California Rules of Professional Conduct: The materials in this article have been prepared by Attorney Jay Greene for educational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Individuals should consult with an estate planning and elder law attorney for up-to-date information for their individual plans.

    Jay Greene, Attorney, CPA, is the founder of Greene Estate, Probate, & Elder Law Firm based in San Francisco, and is focused on helping LGBT individuals, couples, and families plan for their future, protect their assets, and preserve their wealth. For more information and to schedule an assessment, visit:

    Trust Essentials
    Published on November 16, 2023