Legal guides Airmen through will creation

By Airman 1st Class Andrea F. Liechti 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Life is full of surprises and curveballs can come your way at any moment. The legal assistance office here is ready to help Airmen and their families prepare as best they can to deal with those surprises.

Capt. Anna Magazinnik, 2nd Bomb Wing chief of legal assistance, oversees the will process for interested parties on base. A will is a legal document that specifies guardians for those who have children and disperses property and other personal belongings for people with specific desires upon their death.

"The importance of having a will varies from person to person," she said. "It is very important to have a will if you have kids or specific distributions you want made. The importance of having a will for others varies on their situations. The best thing to do is make an appointment so we can help you determine the best option for you."

Magazinnik said the attorneys in her office complete 25 to 30 will appointments per week. The attorneys also help Airmen and family members prepare Healthcare Powers of Attorney and Living Wills, documents used to appoint another person to make health-related decisions in the event the appointer is unable to do so.

According to Capt. Matthew Deacon, 2 BW assistant staff judge advocate, having a will prepared is not only beneficial for retirees, but young folks, too.

"No one ever expects the worst to happen," he said. "It doesn't hurt to be prepared."

The first step to preparing a will is setting up an appointment by calling the legal office at 456-2562.

Individuals should not have a problem getting an appointment as long as they call ahead of time, Magazinnik said. Groups on the other hand, especially those who are getting deployed and have time restraints, may struggle getting appointments. The best thing to do in deployment scenarios is to assign one person to be the contact between the group and the legal assistance office. This expedites the appointment making process.

Once the appointment is set, an email will be sent to the individual containing a link to the Air Force Legal Assistance website. By clicking on the link and filling out the will worksheet online, customers can cut down the amount of time they spend at the legal office, said Magazinnik.

"If you want your will pre-drafted before your appointment, make sure to fill out the worksheet and submit it at least two days ahead of time," she said. "If the wait time during your appointment isn't important, then you don't have to fill out the worksheet ahead of time."

Once the will is drafted it must be signed and notarized, which can be taken care of at the same appointment.

"The will is good forever as long as it remains actual, original and un-tampered with," Magazinnik said.

If the will has been tampered with or needs to be changed, due to divorce, death or a change of mind on who will receive the property upon death, a new will must be created and signed.

For more information on services the legal assistance office offers, call 456-2562 or visit https://aflegalassistance.law.af.mil.