There is a lot to think about when your spouse is deployed. What happens if you need to sell a car that has just your spouse’s name on the title? What if there are problems with a bank account and your name is not on it? Whether your spouse is just a time zone away or halfway across the globe, it’s important that you have taken these types of situations into account before they happen.
Deployments are hard enough; ensuring that you and your family can act swiftly in your service member’s absence can relieve a lot of stress. The tool that gives legal authority to another person to act in your place and on your behalf in your absence is called a power of attorney.
A power of attorney is tailored to fit your family’s particular needs and enables the holder – typically you as the spouse – to act in limited situations on behalf of the service member. The Navy’s Judge Advocate General Legal Services website provides information about the types of powers of attorney and how to get assistance. The website also offers a Power of Attorney Worksheet to assist in drafting a power of attorney and walks you through the different authorities you and your service member may want to consider.
A power of attorney can be particularly useful when dealing with your family’s housing situation. It is required to accept or vacate military housing on your service member’s behalf, and may be required as part of lease signing in the community. If there is a problem while your service member is away, or if your family needs to move or sign a new lease while your spouse is deployed, a power of attorney expedites the process. Your local Navy Housing Service Center (HSC) is used to working with families with a power of attorney for housing related matters and encourages families to have one for imminent housing actions. Visit your HSC or find their contact information online at www.cnic.navy.mil/ContactHousing.