Military Service Members Should Discuss Future During Holidays

Members of the military reserve and National Guard who face the potential of activation, mobilization and deployment, should consider addressing personal and family issues as the holiday season approaches.

While some may argue that such a joyous period of the year is not the appropriate time to speak about such basic issues such as estate plans, wills, life insurance and powers of attorneys, the holidays are actually an opportune time for family and friends to talk about the future, especially when everyone is at the same location at the same time.

Reserve members who have children or significant assets, holdings or property, should consider having wills prepared. A will is a legal document that disposes of property upon your death. It covers such subjects as the naming of beneficiaries, guardians, and personal representatives. Obtaining input from family and friends on these matters can help a service member determine who should receive an item or asset, who could serve as a guardian, and who may be willing and capable of managing the estate as a personal representative.

Power of attorney is no less important for service members, especially if there are responsibilities and obligations that must be fulfilled in their absences. A reservist needs time to consult with individuals prior to granting them such authority. This ensures that the individuals are trustworthy, and it affords the individuals being considered a chance to understand the service member's intentions, wishes and desires.

Finally, life insurance is also a critical issue for reserve service members. The insurance will be more useful if a determination has been made about who the beneficiaries are and how much coverage is needed.

This pamphlet is prepared and published by the Illinois State Bar Association as a public service. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication.

For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, call Illinois Lawyer Finder at (800) 922-8757 or online