"What I do is prepare myself until I know I can do what I have to do." - Joe Namath
Planning a move can be very complicated. Planning a move while your spouse is in Afghanistan is even more complicated and - frankly - confusing. On this particular day I went to our base legal office to find out what documents I needed to begin our PCS. Although my spouse would be home in time for our actual pack-out and move, I needed to schedule the movers before he arrived home to ensure we would get the best possible pack-out date for our family. I had no idea what to do first. I quickly learned I couldn't do anything until I had a Special Power of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
According to the U.S. Air Force's Legal Assistance website, "A power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual ("principal") to delegate authority to another ("agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to accomplish an act or acts in the name of and for the benefit of the individual. There are two types of powers of attorney: a General Power of Attorney (GPOA) and a Special Power of Attorney (SPOA). A GPOA gives the agent the authority to do anything the principal can do and to do that act in the principal's name--such as entering or ending a contract, banking, opening accounts, etc. A SPOA gives the agent limited authority to do a specific act or acts in the principal's name such as sell a specific car or house. Service members (including retirees) and their dependents are eligible to obtain powers of attorneys through the legal assistance office."
Here are 7 specific examples when you might need a Special Power of Attorney:
The first step in getting advice for the preparation of GPOA or a SPOA is to visit your local base legal office. You can call in advance to find out their hours of operations, specific location, and process for setting up an appointment.
I was able - with the help of my local legal office - to get the correct SPOA, which my spouse later signed and had notarized while in country. Having this document allowed me to schedule our move on my own. I encourage you to visit your local legal office whenever you think you might be in need of a POA and visit them the earlier the better!
Related Links and Source Documents:
U.S. Navy JAG (Judge Advocate General)
U.S. Air Force Legal Assistance
U.S. Army Legal Assistance
U.S. Navy Power of Attorney / Notary Service Worksheet - PDF Document
Legal Preparations for Active Duty Deployment
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