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.