Pre-Deployment Advice for Military Personnel

Hilary Meredith Solicitors has helped many members of the Armed Forces obtain compensation and overcome difficulties upon their return from deployment. Consequently we are only too aware of the devastating and life changing consequences deployment can have on the future of military personnel and their families.

We are passionate about ensuring armed forces personnel are given proper advice about the options available to them before they deploy. Given the risks and dangers involved, it is important that military personnel understand how to prepare for their departure and make any plans necessary.

Everyday life often takes over and all of us can be guilty of ignoring paperwork but pre-deployment is a good time to step back and check everything that should be in place is in place and that you and your family will be looked after should the worst happen.

To help you do this, we have prepared a Pre-Deployment Checklist covering some of things we think you should consider:

Pre-Deployment Checklist
Have you considered the following?

  1. Finances
  2. Life/ Accident Insurance
  3. Housing & Cars
  4. Making a Will
  5. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
  6. Fertility Preservation
  7. Parental Responsibility
  8. Army Dependants’ Trust
  9. Compensation
  10. Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  11. Armed Forces Compensation Trust

Finances

  • Consider making bill payments by direct debit or standing order.
  • If you and your partner have separate bank accounts, ensure you both have access to any funds that may be needed whilst you are away.
  • Discuss budgets for whilst you are away.

Life / Accident Insurance

  • Review your personal and family’s insurance needs.
  • Consider taking out insurance to provide cover for accident and life cover options throughout your deployment or on a long term basis.

Housing & Cars

  • If renting a property and the lease is in the name of the person deploying, check with your landlord that this will not cause any problems.
  • Ensure your partner knows where the fuse box and trips switch, central heating controls, mains gas and water supplies are and how to operate them.
  • Make sure gas and electricity contact numbers are handy.
  • Are you entitled to any Council tax relief whilst you are away?
  • If your car is not being used, complete a SORN (statutory off road notification) declaration (available from the Post Office)
  • Can someone start the car and run the engine for you whilst you are away?
  • If your partner is going to use the car, are they insured and are the MOT and tax up to date?
  • Consider joining a breakdown service

Wills

  • Make a will
  • By making a Will you decide who your estate passes to and you can be assured that your loved ones will be looked after;
  • If you die without a valid will, set rules dictate how your estate should be divided. This may not accord with your wishes or how you thought your estate would be distributed;
  • If you have children, guardianship and financial arrangements for the children can be made in the event either one or both parents die;
  • Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a valid will in place. The death of a partner may therefore create serious financial issues for your loved one;
  • It may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on your estate if advice is taken in advance and a will is made;

Lasting Powers of Attorney

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint people you trust to act on your behalf in the event you lose the mental capacity to manage you own financial affairs.
  • By choosing to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney in advance, you choose who acts on your behalf and it reduces time and costs should you lose mental capacity, as there is no need to make an application to the Court if Protection.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time so long as you have the capacity to do so.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Fertility Preservation

  • Whilst no one expects to be injured on tour, it is sensible to consider the possibility that you may be and the type of injury you may sustain. IEDs are a significant threat and blast injuries can have catastrophic consequences, one of which is infertility.
  • Hilary Meredith Solicitors have been campaigning for advice to be offered and the provision of pre-deployment sperm donation for all servicemen who want it.
  • We are delighted to announce that a fertility clinic has offered a scheme whereby all service personnel facing deployment will receive free sperm donation and storage. It includes counselling, legal advice and free storage of up to 3 semen samples, with no continued storage charges.
  • For more information on this, please contact us.

Parental Responsibility

  • Unmarried fathers, step-parents or partners with responsibility over children but who are not named on the child’s birth certificate may not have the necessary legal recognition to make decisions on behalf of the children in the absence of the child’s parent.
  • Specialist legal advice should be obtained to ensure your children’s well-being remains paramount and that matters such as schooling and health can be dealt with in your absence.

Army Dependant’s Trust

  • Consider joining the Army Dependant’s Trust for your service duration. This offers immediate financial support to your family in the event of death of a member.
  • Relevant documentation can be obtained from your Regimental Administration Office or the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre.

Compensation

  • The Ministry of Defence, like all employers, has a duty to protect its employees, for example, by providing them with safe and suitable equipment and adequate training. If the Ministry of Defence has failed in its duties to you and as a result you suffer injury, you may be eligible for compensation.
  • Claims can be made for losses such as:
    Ø Personal Injury;
    Ø Loss of Income, for example, bonuses and loss of allowances;
    Ø Future Loss of Earnings
    Ø Loss of pension;
    Ø Care and assistance;
    Ø Adapted housing;
    Ø Aids and Equipment, for example, prostheses and wheelchairs;
    Ø Future medical care.
  • A legal claim can be made in addition to an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claim but a claim under this scheme does not compensate all of the above losses meaning the overall award in a legal claim can be significantly higher.
  • There is a three year time limit for cases involving legal claims. The limit applies from the date of the accident or from date of knowledge that you have been injured, whichever is the latest. Court proceedings must be issued within the three year time limit or the claim will be statute barred meaning the court may refuse to consider your claim