If you are like most soon to be Army wives, the thought of your husband leaving for weeks or months is overwhelming and a bit unreal. But like it or not, it is going to happen. The best thing you can do is to prepare ahead of time. This is actually very good practice for when he leaves on deployments once he has been assigned to his unit.
Know about the bills
As Army wives, this is one of our main responsibilities. Your soldier will be gone often for training and deployments and it is essential that you can handle the finances. If possible, go ahead and take over this duty before he leaves so you can ask questions if needed. You should know what bills are due each month, when they are due, the amount due and where the payment should be mailed.
Learn how to balance a checkbook
If you’re going to be handling the bills, you also need to be able to balance the checkbook. Your local bank’s customer service representative should be able to help you if no one else is available. Be sure your name is on the account and that you know about all of the accounts (checking, savings, etc.) It is important that you have access to all of these accounts while he is gone.
Get a POA
A Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to speak on behalf of your soldier while he is gone. As his wife (or appointed agent), you can sign in his place and conduct transactions that he would normally have to be present for to conduct. The POA is a powerful document and should be used wisely. There are a variety of POAs available. A general POA is the broadest of them and is the most commonly used. There are also specific POAs that are used for one certain transaction such as buying or selling your home. There is no need to pay an attorney for this. The JAG office can help you or you can find a sample online to modify. The document must be notarized to be effective.
Ask him when he should be notified
It seems silly but this was one thing I asked my husband about before he left. I knew if an immediate family member died, he would want to be notified and come home. What about if it was a distant relative? What about if someone was hospitalized? He told me specifically the kinds of things he would want to know while he was in training and the things he didn’t want to know. It’s an important question to ask. Some of his answers surprised me.
Also, if there is a situation which requires your soldier to come home, you will have to notify the Red Cross. Be sure to discuss this with your soldier as well so you know the correct procedures to utilize.
Draw up a will
This is an important document for him, as a soldier, and for you, as an Army wife, especially if you have children. Be sure to lay out your wishes in writing. This is a morbid task and one that most people avoid. But if the circumstance arises where it must be used, you’ll be glad you have it. Along the same lines, be sure you know your soldier’s wishes for burial. Does he want to be buried in Arlington? Does he want to be cremated or buried? Does he want full military honors at his funeral? These are things that need to be asked now. Like I said, I know this isn’t a pleasant task. Believe me, I’ve had to do it myself. But you need to know.
Memorize his social security number
You will need to know this number for EVERYTHING! Your social security number barely has relevance now that you’re an Army wife. If someone in the Army asks you for your social, nine times out of ten, they’re asking for his not yours.
Do you have other tips? Please email me and let me know.