NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Through the many stages of life some people think they are invincible, that death and tragedy could only happen to those that are elderly and unlike themselves. It is important to think about all of the possibilities no matter how discerning and be equipped with the knowledge necessary to be prepared for it.
Being in the military comes with many challenges; one is the possibility of being deployed. With that possibility, it is crucial to be prepared for anything as well as taking the necessary precautions to reduce stress while deployed.
“The ability to maintain an accurate and current living will, Family Care Plan, Service member’s Group Life Insurance policy and powers of attorney will reduce the stress a member may take on during deployment,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Johnson, 99th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center superintendent.
The Nellis AFB Legal Office offers a variety of services to active duty members, reservists, retirees and their families. One of those services is preparing a last will and testament, free of charge. Having a current last will and testament is an important step to take in becoming as prepared as possible for death or tragedy.
“Unfortunately, you never know when you are going to pass. Therefore, the legal office recommends preparing a will whenever possible. At the very least, you should make sure you have an up-to-date will before any major vacations, overseas travel, or deployments,” said 1st Lt. John Cane, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center Assistant Judge Advocate.
A will is a legal document used to dispose of personal property at ones death. It can also name people to do important jobs, such as allocating personal representatives, guardians for children or executor of one’s estate.
There is a common misconception that once someone dies all of their belonging automatically gets passed down to the next-of-kin.
“Without a will your assets pass through intestacy [where a person dies without leaving a will]. Under intestacy, you have no control over the disposition of your assets after your death; your property instead passes to your surviving family and descendants based on state law. Each state has its own set of rules as to where your property goes. With that said, there is no reason not to have a will, and it’s usually better to have a will even if you do not have many assets,” said Cane.
With all the perils and high-risk situations Airmen are exposed to, especially during deployments, having your affairs in order through a professionally drafted last will and testament is a smart idea. Not only to reduce the stress and concern to the Airman’s personal mindset, but saves their loved ones from much of the burdens and troubles that accompany any unfortunate incidents that may occur.
If you wish to have an attorney prepare a will for you, please go to the Air Force Legal Assistance Website, https://aflegalassistance.law.af.mil, complete the online worksheet, record the ticket number, and call the legal office to schedule an appointment.
For more information about creating a last will and testament, or other legal services, call the Nellis AFB Legal Office at (702) 652-5407.