You Need A Will And Everyone Should Know Where It Is Located

by Hank

Everyone should have a willI received one of the worst phone calls last week a military leader could get. One of my former Soldiers had died in an automobile accident in his home state. He had just gotten out of the Army to pursue college education full time. While this tragic loss was not in combat, it did not lessen the pain of losing a good Soldier any less. To make matters worse, his family asked me if I knew where their loved one kept his last will and testament or if the Army had kept a copy of it for him. It broke my heart to tell his family that the answer to both of their questions was unfortunately, “No.” A will does anyone very little good if they cannot easily find it when it is needed.

Everyone Should Have A Will

Everyone needs a will, and members of the military are no different. It is one of the many things on the checklist for Soldiers who are about to deploy to the combat zone. But, every member of the military needs to have a last will and testament regardless of their duty assignment. Wills are imperative for military members with children, large assets, side businesses, and homes (especially homes in multiple states). While many young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines do not have very much in the way of assets, they too should still have a will that lists where they would like certain items to go, where they would like to be buried or cremated, and other specific details. For example, my will dictates that I would like to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, that certain people be written out and receive no distributions, and that my prized gun collection that my wife hates go to my best friend Brad. These are the kind of details that my former Solder’s family is now missing because he did not make it known where his will was kept.

Everyone Should Tell Their Loved Ones Where The Will Is Kept

A family has enough trouble with grieving the loss of a loved one, especially if the death was tragic and unexpected, that they should not be burdened with having to track down the deceased person’s will. Everyone should have a will, and everyone should make no secret about where that important document is kept. (Mom and Peter, mine is in the fireproof safe in my home office. I’ll give you the combination later.) The family will need the original, not a photocopy, of the will in order to execute its directives.

Despite their grim reminder that our time here on Earth is fleeting, a last will and testament can play a vital role at the end of your life. It provides direction, clarity, and peace of mind to grief stricken family and friends when they need it the most. Everyone should have a will, and everyone should make sure that their loved ones know where it is kept and how to get to it in the unfortunate event it is needed.

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben March 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Are US soldiers required to enact a Last Will and Testament before shipping out combat?

Thanks, I’ve been trying to find this information for some time.

Ben

Hank May 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

Ben,

Usually they are. Yes. It is one of the many things that they do as a part of a checklist before heading out on a deployment. If they already have one, they are given the option to update it if needed.

DandL February 5, 2015 at 12:27 am

Thank you for this helpful article. Our elderly father just passed away. He never mentioned that he had a will so we didn’t think he had one. He was retired military that was deployed to Vietnam. Do you know if this was a part of the ‘checklist’ back in the 1960’s? If he had one, we haven’t come across it in his belongings yet. Reading this article it sounds like it would be something he would have had to store and not something the military files. Is that correct?

Melinda Gray January 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm

My husband had a Will & Last Testament; we both knew where it was within the house. HOWEVER, the person my husband allowed to remain as a roommate in our home MURDERED him back on Nov.14th,2013….(listed as Nov. 15th, 2013 per Indian River County Sheriff’s Dept. finding my husband’s body in our bed.) I had been visiting our son and his wife in Nebraska.; when I was finally able to go into my own home, his Will was missing. No one is letting me know what happened to it; to make matters worse, his brother (and brother’s wife) along with his father; kept asking me about his Last Will & Testament even before I was allowed in my own home. The person that murdered him & Law Enforcement refuse to answer my questions on many aspects of the homocide. What can I do? (He was retired USN as of Nov 2004 and we had the Will done in Virginia )

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