JAG office provides legal assistance to retirees

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Legal experts from Fairchild’s Judge Advocate General office offers Retiree Appreciation Days twice a month to provide free legal services to more than 30,000 military retirees in the local area.

One of the most important services the legal office provides is the drafting and notarizing of Last Will and Testament documents, said Capt. Marco Specoli, JAG chief of civil law.

“We find that many retirees don’t have a living will,” Specoli said. “It is easy to procrastinate making a will, but as you age, it’s important to have this document, which ensures the proper disposition of your money and belongings in the unfortunate event of your death.”

A current will is a checklist item for deploying Airmen. Specoli recommends keeping an updated will and supporting health advisory documents for all service members, especially retirees.

“The will-making process can get quite complicated as your family grows,” Specoli said. “Those who’ve been through several marriages, have children and grandchildren, adopted or step-children, not to mention extended relatives … it can be a lot to consider, especially if you have considerable assets.”

Extended family and assets can become complicated and bring excessive stress to an already grieving family in the event of a death, highlighting the need to have clear and concise instructions left behind. Vague or no instructions can cause confusion and conflict amongst surviving family, Specoli said.

“It’s important to thoroughly consider everything when drafting a will and be honest with yourself,” Specoli said. “When going through this process, we encourage people to have an honest talk with their families so there are no surprises down the line.”

Airman volunteers from any vocation are always welcome to assist with will signing and witnessing the legal notarization process, said Maj. Tiffany Johnson, deputy staff JAG.

“Volunteers not only help us, but it gives Airmen and retirees a chance to interact,” Johnson said. “It’s comforting to have Airmen helping them, to share stories and make this important and very personal matter a more pleasant one.”

The JAG office also provides assistance with legal matters such as Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Directives, landlord-tenant issues, car leases, consumer fraud, divorces and child custody to name a few.

“I implore both our active-duty Airmen and retirees to make use of the services we offer,” said Johnson. “Everything we offer help for is free to all service members and veterans.”

Retiree Appreciation Days are held two days a month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The JAG office recommends calling in on the first of the month to find which days are available.

The JAG Office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wing HQ building. For more information call (509) 247-2838 or visit their website at https://aflegalassistance.law.af.mil.