By Aimee D. Griffin

In the month of November, as a country, we celebrate Veterans Day! Veterans have made the commitment to serve their country for the benefit of the citizens of the United States.  They enter service without knowing the depth and breadth of their sacrifice. This is an act of heroism. Whether the commitment has been for 24 months or 24 years, as citizens and residents of the United States, we are indebted to each veteran. Whether we support the policies that are made as a country in total or not, we are privileged to have the support and freedom that this country offers.

My father is a veteran, as is my “newish” husband of four years. Through them, in the past four years, I have observed the process of pursuing the benefits for which they are qualified. I have realized that many of our veterans do not know or pursue the benefits for which they are eligible. Many veterans are affected physically and/or emotionally because of the time experienced during their time of service. Yet, they don’t have the insight, inspiration, or emotional capacity to pursue these benefits. 

I know that we as a country are indebted to the men and women who have made the decision and commitment to protect and serve this country.  I am excited to participate in the Association of Black Estate Planning Professionals Wills 4 Heroes campaign.   

The Association of Black Estate Planning Professionals (ABEPP) is a nonprofit that is committed to collaboratively bridging the racial wealth gap. This Veterans Day ABEPP is kicking off a Wills 4 Heroes campaign where estate planning attorneys in the Washington, D.C., metro area are seeking to provide 100 veterans with a foundational estate plan and a goal to protect real property. 

The foundational estate plan manages the concerns of incapacity as well as directs probate for personal property. Each person should have an estate plan at the age of 18, which is the standard age of majority in the United States. Eighteen is the age when one is a legal adult. Adulting comes with rights and responsibilities. The foundational estate plan will support the protection of rights and the transfer of assets upon passing through probate. One of the rights is the right to privacy. That right is protected. With that right to privacy, there are legal boundaries for someone to be able to provide help without legal authorization.

The Power of Attorney is a document that provides authority for someone to access information and waive the right to privacy. There are two different circumstances for the power of attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney for financial and business purposes appoints someone to act on someone’s behalf for business or financial purposes. The Power of Attorney (POA) is as broad or specific as the principal intends it to be. It can be revoked at any time or upon death. It is vital in cases of disability. The Durable Power of Attorney for financial decisions allows for someone to act on your behalf and would avoid a need for guardianship. Guardianship is a court-directed process when a person is appointed to serve when a person is determined by the court to not be able to manage his or her own affairs, financially or physically.

The Advanced Directive/Living Will gives guidance on health care decisions. The focus of the guidance anticipates what are the end-of-life health care preferences a person would have. This clarity provides support for family members. The burden to make decisions regarding the care of a loved one is heavy. Providing the guidance for those who have the responsibility to make the decision is a responsible action. 

The Last Will & Testament provides direction to the court that manages the probate process. The probate process is the legal act of taking the assets out of the name of a person who has passed away. The probate process is distinctive in each geographic jurisdiction.

We are excited that Life & Legacy Counselors will participate in the Wills 4 Heroes campaign. If you are a veteran interested in a free foundational estate plan, visit the website for more information. We are better together.