If you and your spouse are getting ready for a deployment, there is a lot to do and think about before that day arrives. Although most people aren’t too excited about dealing with legal matters, it’s important to get your affairs in order to protect your best interests and your family.
Understanding and taking care of any legal matters before a deployment will help you feel secure while your spouse is away.
Here are three important legal matters you and your spouse should know when preparing for a deployment:
- Powers of Attorney: Designating a Trusted Representative
There are two types of powers of attorney: general and special. When you give someone a power of attorney, you are authorizing him or her to manage your affairs. A general power of attorney (POA) can act in your place for just about anything and could manage your interests and everything you own.
A special power of attorney provides limited power. It gives someone the ability to do a specific task on your behalf, like selling a car. Your spouse and you will need to decide which power of attorney will work best for your situation, as well as the length of time for the POA. It is recommended to use a power of attorney that is limited in scope and for a specific time period only.
While your spouse is deployed, a power of attorney will be helpful to you in order to buy, sell or register a vehicle, for financial and legal transactions, to ship or receive household goods or to sign a family member up for a military ID card.
- Wills: Make Sure Wishes Are Understood
A will is a legal document that spells out what happens to your dependents and assets upon death. Wills should be kept up to date, and if your service member already has a will from a prior deployment, ensure it is updated. If you have minor dependents, property or any requests, talk with your spouse about this beforehand. To prepare a new will, you will need to contact your Legal Assistance Office or Command Staff Judge Advocate Office. This service is offered at no cost to servicemembers. While not mandatory, it is important to make visiting the Legal Assistance Office a priority.
- The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): Understand Legal Protections
SCRA gives the service member certain protections when they are called to active duty in the military or deployed. The goal of this law is to postpone or suspend some civil obligations, so a service member can concentrate on military service.
Some protections include; mortgage foreclosures, tax filings, termination of leases, eviction, and outstanding credit card debt. The law covers all active duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserve—but only while they are on active duty. In order to be protected, certain conditions must be met, and you must be prepared to show that the military has had an impact on the legal or financial matter. If you have any questions about SCRA, be sure to seek assistance with your Legal Assistance Office.
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About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.