The future is unpredictable, and it's important for everyone, including military personnel, to have their affairs in order.
Estate planning may sound exclusive, but it's simply the process of managing one's possessions during life and memorializing what happens to those possessions after death.
A central piece of estate planning includes a Last Will and Testament, a legal document that expresses where someone wants their property to go, who will act as guardian of their children, and even preferred funeral arrangements. Without a will, these things can become a burden on the decedent's family and sometimes create messy legal situations.
The Hanscom Legal Office can assist active duty service members, dependents, or military retirees in creating a will with a free and simple process.
To begin, members will make an appointment at aflegalassistance.law.af.mil. An attorney will then reach out to the member for additional information, then draft the member's will accordingly. Finally, the member will physically visit the base Legal Office to review their document and make any necessary changes, before signing in front of two witnesses.
The legal office can also execute powers of attorney and formulate advance medical directives with information also listed at the website above.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to act on another person's behalf. A general power of attorney allows "Person A" to do anything that "Person B" can do, like entering a contract or opening a bank account. In contrast, a special power of attorney gives "Person A" the power to do a particular act for "Person B," like selling a car.
Powers of attorney are commonly used for buying or selling vehicles, closing on a home, or taking care of minor dependents while a parent is away.
Advance health care directives are important in situations where individuals become medically incapacitated and cannot act or make decisions for themselves. The legal office can help members execute a "living will," expressing preferences for treatment and life support termination in the event of a terminal medical condition, or a "durable power of attorney for healthcare," which designates a trusted person to make decisions on an incapacitated member's behalf.
Members can contact the Legal Office at 781-225-1410 for additional information on all services above.