YOUR WILL AND TESTAMENT
Preparations Guide A last will and testament is a legal
declaration as to the manner in which
you would like to have your property or
This guide should be used to prepare estate disposed of after your death.
soldiers and families for This document can also name someone to
mobilization/deployment. Additionally, serve as legal guardian for your minor
soldiers and families should be offered children and to serve as your personal
informational briefings to include, but representative to settle the affairs of
not limited to: your estate. You may consult an
attorney during pre-mobilization legal
• DEERS/RAPIDS counseling to determine whether you
• Health Benefits should have a will. It may be
• Available Financial Assistance important to have a will regardless of
• Available Legal Assistance your military, financial, or marital
status. Remember, wills can usually be
• Soldier and Family Sponsorship
changed very easily. You should see
• Family Readiness Groups your attorney about preparing or
changing your will or your spouse’s
Leaving your family, your home, your will. Your attorney and you should
employment, and your property can consider the effects of your state’s
create enormous financial, legal, and laws concerning estate planning.
personal complications, unless adequate
records and documents are established YOUR SPOUSE’S WILL AND TESTAMENT
and safeguarded. Maintaining personal
records are important to you, not only
POWER OF ATTORNEY
for mobilization. They should be kept
in a safe place, readily available to
you, and in your absence to your A Power of Attorney is a legal
spouse, next of kin, or executor. It instrument, which gives another person
is recommended that you use this the authority to act for you in matters
checklist to record information or list relating to your responsibilities and
where your documents are kept. obligations. You may consult with an
attorney during pre-mobilization legal
For your family members to obtain counseling to determine if you should
identification cards and legal have a power of attorney prepared.
benefits, you must provide those This power of attorney may be signed at
documents indicated by an asterisk (*) the time of mobilization giving someone
to your unit upon request or on you trust the authority to act for you
mobilization. The documents should be in your absence in matters relating to
located now and kept available at all your responsibilities and legal
times. obligations. Your attorney can advise
you concerning this “power of
* Certified copies of birth
certificates for your children. (Pre-
enrollment in DEERS will delete this
The records and documents listed in the GUARDIANSHIP DOCUMENTS
remainder of this pamphlet are not all
inclusive. Some have short * Adoption or legal guardianship
explanations and others are named to documents.
assist you and your dependents.
* Certified copies of your marriage
license or certificate. (This document
Annex M is required to obtain dependent ID
SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS RENTAL CONTRACTS
Names and addresses of fraternal or All documents relating to your
service organizations, with a list of financial obligations concerning the
benefits receivable from membership. purchase or rental of real property to
Upon mobilization, you may want to include leases, rental contracts,
arrange suspension of membership dues. purchase contracts, installments, sales
contracts, copies of notes payable, and
HOME IMPROVEMENTS copies of payment and date schedules
where appropriate. If you lease your
All evidence relating to home home or business property, upon
improvements or real property value mobilization you may want to consider
enhancement. canceling the lease or renegotiating it
to include subletting options.
REAL ESTATE DOCUMENTS
Deeds or other title documents to real
estate and real property, to include Stocks, bonds (together with buy-and-
mortgages, deeds of trust, abstracts of sell orders); certificate of deposit;
title (and the names and addresses of savings account passbooks; notes
the holders of such deeds and receivable; and other evidence of
abstracts), title insurance policies, ownership of real, intangible, personal
and copies of notes payable relating to income-producing property should be
the property. It may be wise to have kept together, identified, and
at least your home (and perhaps other maintained in your safe deposit box or
property) owned jointly with your elsewhere as recommended by your
spouse for estate and tax purposes. lawyer. Coupon bonds should be
However, you should consult with a exchanged for registered bonds, if
lawyer before establishing joint possible. These items should be
ownership of housing. Under current matters of discussion in preparing your
tax law, if you sell your home and will. Consider naming a custodian or
don’t acquire another within 18 months, trustee(s) to handle income, who will
there may be capital gain consequences determine the purchase or sale of
if your home is valued at more than you assets for your account and
paid for it. Be aware that 26 USC 1034 instructions relating to keeping you
(h) extends this period up to 4 years, informed of activity.
with limited exception. Thus, it’s
important for you to keep all records OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY
pertaining to home improvements,
modernization, or landscaping, etc., All copies of bills of sale of major
all of which are part of your cost items of personal property not
basis. otherwise included in above paragraphs.
PERSONAL PROPERTY CERTIFICATES BUSINESS PLANS AND AGREEMENTS
Certificates of title, registration, Business agreements to include
warranties, and tax receipts for partnership documents, agency or sales
automobiles, boats, recreational contracts, royalties or residual
vehicles, and other personal property. agreements, and employment contracts.
The names of the persons entitled to If you’re self-employed, active files
your car should be shown on your and accounts should be well organized
certificate of title. You should and someone should be named to take
determine the disposition to be made of over on mobilization. Include Business
your car upon your mobilization. If Care Plans for Health Care
the car is to be kept but not used for Professionals. On mobilization, you
business purposes, discuss possible should consider notifying customers and
premium reduction with your insurance suppliers of any change of address to
agent. If upon mobilization, contract which remittance, orders, invoices,
purchase payments cannot be made, see etc. will be delivered.
paragraph 4.3 DA Pamphlet 27-166
(Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief OTHER BUSINESS INTERESTS
Evidence of beneficial interest in any
business or joint venture.
OTHER DOCUMENTS INCOME TAX RECORDS
Copies of all documents designating you Copies of your Federal and State income
as an executor or a trustee. tax records for the last five years.
EMPLOYMENT RECORDS INSURANCE POLICIES
Copies of military and other employment Copies of insurance policies including
records. life, home, auto, liability, credit
life, health, and disability with a
PARENT INFORMATION list of effective premium dates, agents
of record and the home office address
Full legal names, places and dates of for each insuring company. Keep your
birth, and location of marriage record policies in one place with a cover
of your parents. list. Check the policies with your
insurance advisors and review them to
LIST OF HOME ADDRESSES see whether they give adequate
coverage, list dates, and provide for
Chronological list of your places of payments of premiums upon your
residence (including dates). mobilization. Certain commercial life
insurance policies payments may be
PERSONAL SCHOOL HISTORY covered under Federal law. See
paragraphs 5.1 through 5.10, DA
Names and addresses of schools you Pamphlet 27-166 (Soldiers’ and Sailors’
attended, with dates of attendance, and Civil Relief Act).
graduation or enrollment date.
PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP
List of names, addresses, and account
This could include a Birth Certificate, numbers of your saving and loan
Passport, Certificate of Naturalization associations, banks, trust or holding
or Alien Registration Card. accounts, safe deposit boxes, and
institutions holding certificates of
DIVORCE PAPERS deposit on file in your name. Upon
mobilization, you might consider making
Copies of divorce or annulment decrees joint bank and savings accounts with
from prior marriages (you and your your spouse or parents and you should
present spouse) with documents relative notify the institutions where to send
to alimony and child support. Decide statements.
what effects your orders to duty would
have on alimony or child support EMPLOYER INFORMATION
payments which may or may not have been
addressed in divorce, legal separation, Name and address of employers with a
annulment, child support, and property list of employment benefits such as
settlement decrees and consider dependent health care, pension, or
amending the decrees as they may profit sharing plans. Upon receiving
pertain to your circumstances upon alert for mobilization, you will want
mobilization. to discuss with your employer, your
intention to return to work after
DEATH CERTIFICATES completion of military duty. Legal
reemployment rights are described in DA
Certified copies of death certificates Pamphlet 135.2 (Briefing on
of members of your immediate family. Reemployment Rights of Members of the
Army National Guard and the US Army
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS Reserve).
A list of social security numbers for PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
you, your spouse, children, and other
family members. Name and address of union or
professional association (e.g. Bar
CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS Association) and date of
union/association membership, together
A list of all credit card accounts, with evidence of membership and status.
account numbers, and mailing addresses. Upon mobilization membership dues may
be suspended or adjusted.
* If you have an unmarried child over HEALTH RECORDS
21, who is incapable of self-support
because of mental or physical Record of your health history to
incapacity that existed before age 21, include a record of past illnesses or
the following is needed: Statement injuries with names and addresses of
from a licensed physician certifying doctors and hospitals.
medical condition, which includes
whether condition is temporary or VOTER REGISTRATION
permanent. If temporary, physician
should estimate the expected length of Address of your registrar of voter.
incapacity. Documentation must be After mobilization you will want to
forwarded to DFAS for determination. arrange for absentee ballots to be sent
to your military address by sending the
CHILDREN’S SCHOOL DOCUMENTATION registrar on SF-76 (Application for
* Name and location of places where
unmarried children (including adopted RECORD OF TAXING AUTHORITIES
or stepchildren) over 21, but under 23
years of age, are enrolled in a full- Record the addresses of all taxing
time course of instruction. (This authorities (county assessor, IRS,
information will be required to obtain State income tax, motor vehicles,
dependent ID cards.) If you’re paying etc.). Upon mobilization you will want
tuition for your spouse or family to ensure that all taxes are paid to
members on mobilization, you will want date, and notify the taxing authorities
to determine what arrangements can be where further tax bills should be sent.
made for tuition abatement or financial Extension of time to pay certain taxes
assistance. You must also have may be granted under the Soldier’s and
documentation to verify attendance at Sailor’s Civil Relief Act.
the appropriate school/institution.
School documentation is a letter from OTHER IMPORTANT CONTACTS
the registrar or other officials
stating student is enrolled full time List the names and addresses of all
(12 credit hours per semester for special persons (family, lawyer,
undergraduate, 9 for graduate) and business associates, etc.) who are not
expected date of graduation. listed elsewhere. Upon mobilization
you may desire to mail them a change of
CUSTODY ORDERS/PREVIOUS MARRIAGE address notification.
* Copy of any court order giving you BURIAL INSTRUCTIONS
legal custody of any children from a
previous marriage. (This document will You should consider recording specific
be required to obtain dependent ID instructions regarding the place and
cards). manner of burial in the event of your
death. Upon mobilization such
CUSTODY ORDERS/OTHER CHILDREN instructions should be left with your
spouse or family.
* For illegitimate children, copy of a
court order naming you the natural IMPORTANT DOCUMENT STORAGE
parent of the child, a copy of the
court decision that you contribute to You should consult with a lawyer about
the child’s support. (This document the advisability of storing important
will be required to obtain dependent ID documents and small items in a safety
cards.) deposit box.
DEPENDENT IDENTIFICATION CARD
* All family members 10 years of age or
older must obtain an ID card for THERE IS A SYSTEM IN PLACE TO
medical, dental, PX, commissary and ASSIST FAMILIES, PLEASE USE IT !
other military privileges. Families Serve Too !