Everything You Need to Know About “Power of Attorney”

A power of attorney (POA) is a document that appoints a person or organization to manage your property, financial or medical affairs if you become unable to do so. In the military community, POAs are crucial for every family, while your spouse is underway and serving our country. 

POAs are like shoes, there’s not one, magical pair to match every outfit. Same goes for POAs. I swear, I have a STACK of them in my emergency file. Every situation and entity requires its own POA.  

Here’s a list of POAs you should consider obtaining:  

  • General POA
  • Special POA for finances (bank accounts/ IRAs etc.)
  • Special POA for any property owned (Car/ house etc.)
  • In loco parentis if you have a child (children)
  • POA to accept housing (if you are PCS during a deployment or your spouse will be going underway as soon as you arrive)
  • Healthcare POA (you must file this with medical records at each duty station)

My best advice to you is to go to base legal and speak with a professional. Every family is unique and therefore certain POAs will make more sense. A few things to note:

  •  Most offices have a “self help” kiosk that is incredibly user friendly. You print your forms and someone notarizes them there. 
  • If your spouse is not present and it is something they need to sign, base legal can take it to their command. 
  • There is also a notary at each command.

Once you’ve established your POAs, it’s a good practice to review them annually to ensure they have not expired or if you’ve had any major life changes, such as the birth of a new child.Make sure you file these appropriately in a safe place, and carry them to every duty station. I have a small tupperware style box that I keep all mine in while PCSing.    

For more information on POAs, contact your base legal at your current duty station.

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