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Military Power of Attorney (POA)

If you’ve been around the military for any time at all, you’ve certainly been told that your soldier needs to have a POA. The Power of Attorney is a legal document that the soldier can execute to name someone to act on his behalf. It is a very powerful document and great care should be taken in choosing the POA.

There are two types of POAs – general and special (also called limited). The general POA gives the appointed agent the ability to act in place of the soldier. With a general POA, the person can inquire on accounts, write checks, withdraw money, enter into a lease, etc. About the only thing that the general POA doesn’t cover is the ability to stand in the soldier’s place in a court of law. Many times, there is no reason for a soldier to give someone else this much control over his affairs.

A special POA can be drawn up to be used in specific situations, rather than broadly as is the case with the general POA. This special POA is often times required for any type of real estate transaction, including obtaining housing on post. The special POA restricts the use of it to the certain situation that has been specified. Many companies and organizations are more willing to accept a special POA because the soldier’s intent for the POA is documented specifically.

When deploying, a soldier needs to assign someone a POA to handle his affairs. Whether the POA is general or specific is up to the soldier and can depend on what he thinks may arise while he is gone. In addition to drawing up the POA, the JAG office may also be able to offer advice on the best document for the soldier’s situation. This is another reason it’s important to attend the pre-deployment briefing.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. A POA should have an expiration date
2. The POA can be revoked before the expiration date. In addition to notifying the person acting on your behalf, all agencies that are operating under the POA must also be notified.
3. A business can refuse to accept the POA. Some banks have specific forms that need to be filled out. Check with the bank before deployment.
4. The appointed person must have the original POA.

*Please note that information in this section is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please contact JAG or your personal legal counsel.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ashley August 27, 2012, 11:13 pm

    I married my husband 2 years after he joined the army. I feel like the military is giving him more work now than ever so it’s been really difficult for him to find the time to even make me the POA. Long story short I flew myself out here and I’m staying with a family member right now so I can try to help him get paper work done while he’s going through the classes and work that he has. But my question to you is, is there anyway that I myself (the army wife) can make one of my parents the POA so they can have the military send our household goods to us or is one soldier only allowed one POA form?

  • Kevan Dilworth April 9, 2013, 2:27 pm

    You are married. This means all your property is “marital property”. You can make a POA to whomever you wish, but it will hold no authority with the military. If you want the military to move something, it will have to come from the servicemember. Your husband can give a general POA to you and a special POA to your parents. You cannot do this. He will have to go to JAG and have it done. It will literally take 30 minutes.

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