Military Power of Attorney

One of the top reasons for using a military power of attorney, as opposed to a general power of attorney, is that they are accepted in all the different states. Normal powers of attorney are meant to be used in the state they were created.

In fact there is a federal law (Title 10, United States Code Section 1044b) that provides that military POA's shall be given the same legal effect as a power of attorney prepared in the state it is presented. This means that military powers of attorney don't have to comply with certain state-specific rules regarding the form of the document.

If you are deployed to serve overseas, it is recommended, that you leave your spouse with a general military power of attorney. If you are not married, you can leave this with a trusted family member or friend. The person you are granting powers to in this document is called an agent. Your agent can be anyone you trust.

If you own property, have investments and bank accounts, then you really do need to leave someone at home a power of attorney allowing these assets to be managed should the need arise. You may think your spouse has legal rights to all of your property and also has the right to make medical decisions for you should the need arise. This is not always the case, and filling out a few powers of attorney is so easy, why not be on the safe side.

If you have been working with an estate planning attorney you may already have a durable power of attorney for finances and a durable power of attorney for health care. There is probably no reason to change these documents at this time. By adding a military power of attorney you will have covered all of your bases and be well prepared for anything that could possibly happen.

In your military power of attorney you are allowed to specify the length of time you want this document to be effective. This can be the time of your deployment, whether it is six months or a year. Stating an exact ending date in the document saves you from having to fill out a revoking a power of attorney form when you get home.

The use of these powers of attorney is a way of assuring that no matter what, your family can manage all of the finances and take care of themselves while you are gone. And if, for any reason, you came home mentally incapacitated, you could be taken care of by someone you love and trust. You would know that all of your health and financial decisions were being made by either your spouse, or someone you have appointed to do that for you.

Military power of attorney forms can be prepared by a legal assistance attorney at your local military installation (if you are entitled to the service; i.e. have a military ID card). Of course, a private attorney can also prepare a military power of attorney and the appropriate forms can also be downloaded from internet companies like Legal Zoom. Whether or not you pay an attorney, use a fee service, or prepare the documents yourself, make sure they get done before you leave.

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