Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
When my spouse was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan there were a million things I wanted to do before he left, including making those last few weeks last as long as possible. However, visiting our base legal office was not one of them. I would have much rather been walking on the beach or making his favorite meal, anything else would have better. Still, there we were along with several other military couples waiting to update our legal documents. It was not very romantic.
Are you facing an upcoming deployment?
Whether this is your first deployment or you have been living this military life for a while, preparing for a long separation can feel overwhelming and confusing.
Remember to lessen your already heightened stress level by starting the process early, don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and be sure to keep EVERYTHING in one place, in a fireproof box for example.
Start with a call to your base legal office.
You'll need a Power of Attorney, which is a document that allows your service member to appoint a person to handle their affairs or act on their behalf in legal and business matters while they are unavailable. There are two types of Powers of Attorney: general and limited.
Where there is a Will there is a way
While you are at your local JAG office, you can create or update your Will and Living Will. Having a Will ensures your wishes are outlined should the unexpected happen. A Living Will outlines your medical care wishes.
Next you'll want to work on a Family Care Plan, which outlines how your family will be cared for during any possible short or long term absence. It's important as the spouse you have input into this document, especially to outline who will care for your children should you become unable. This paperwork is provided by your spouses command.
Update / Verify
Verify your spouses personal data sheet (Service Record) is updated with all of his/her dependants. Also, ensure your spouse's Servicemen's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) beneficiaries are up to date. Remember to renew your vehicle registration tags and ID Cards before your spouse leaves if they will be expiring during the deployment.
Even though the process of preparing your legal documents isn't sexy, the relief and peace of mind of knowing it is done as you prepare for the deployment is priceless!
Need more information? Be sure to visit or call your base legal office.