Uncertainty is a reality of active duty service – and deployment readiness is essential. We live in a complex and ever-changing world, and the job of our warriors is to protect our freedom and safety, no matter what or when the situation. This is hard enough on service members alone, but it can be incredibly difficult for military families as well. One way to bring some peace of mind to this difficult situation is to make sure that you have plans in place should the unthinkable happen – either in the field or at home. In this piece, we’ll show you five things that every military family should have ready in preparation, should the order to deploy come down.
One way to bring some peace of mind to this difficult situation is to make sure that you have plans in place should the unthinkable happen – either in the field or at home.
Both adults in the family should have wills filed with personnel officials and other attorneys and keep them up to date at all times. While the theater of deployment can be a dangerous place, we can’t forget that accidents and tragedies happen at home as well. Having an up to date will for both adults ensures that the children and other beneficiaries are taken care of with absolute clarity and adherence to your wishes.
Power of Attorney
There are so many reasons to have a power of attorney set up it would be hard to enumerate them all here. For civilians, the reasons usually center on medical issues, but for servicemembers and their families, they can provide peace of mind in many other areas, too. For example, if the servicemember is forward deployed and unreachable, someone with power of attorney could serve as a proxy for the servicemember in the event of financial or other estate emergencies.
Do Not Resuscitate Instructions
This is another form that can offer a lot more flexibility than many people expect from it. Typically these instructions are a part of a living will and exist to provide instructions to family members and health care providers in the event of traumatic or chronic injuries or illnesses that stop the patient’s natural life-support functions. The decision to use Do Not Resuscitate instructions (DNR) is a personal one that should be thoroughly thought through and discussed with family and loved ones before it is finalized.
SGLI and Other Insurance Beneficiaries
One of the biggest benefits to servicemembers is Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, which provides a financial benefit to the beneficiaries of your choice in the event of the service member’s death.
It is incredibly important to check with your unit’s personnel representative to ensure that the beneficiaries for SGLI and any other life or accidental death and dismemberment insurance you may have are up to date.
Family Emergency Plans
As with all of the points we’ve discussed here, having a well-thought-out plan can help relieve stress and ensure that whatever life throws at you or your family during a deployment can be handled in an orderly and pragmatic fashion. Natural disasters and other emergencies are a real possibility in most regions of the United States. Every member of your family should know what to do and how to handle themselves in the event of the emergency, and you should have the FEMA recommended amounts of rationed food and water on hand, as well as any other emergency supplies in case something happens while the servicemember is deployed.
The world is uncertain and at times, unpredictable, but with a little effort in planning, an emergency situation doesn’t have to turn into a complete disaster. Having a clear will with appropriate DNR instructions, a power of attorney, SGLI Beneficiaries declared, and a family emergency plan can really help to eliminate confusion when emergencies arise. Taking the time to make these preparations can ensure more positive outcomes for service members and their families when the unthinkable comes knocking at life’s door.