JULY 28, 2016, WASHINGTON (NNS) – The Naval Legal Service Command recently unveiled new online legal assistance resources for those eligible. The new resources at www.jag.navy.mil include legal brochures on legal assistance topics that commonly affect military members and special power of attorney forms.
“A power of attorney is an important and very powerful legal document that allows the person you have named as your legal agent to independently act on your behalf, or exercise your rights concerning finances, your children, your personal property or your real estate,” said Kathlene Somerville, deputy division director, Legal Assistance Policy Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General. “Before using one of these documents, you should be aware that the consequences of a poorly-thought-out power of attorney can be personally and financially devastating, especially if you do not select a highly trustworthy and responsible adult as your agent.”
These special powers of attorney forms are the same special powers of attorney forms you would normally obtain from the Region Legal Service Office Legal Assistance Department or your command legal officer.
“If you think you need a power of attorney for your bank or to handle real estate transactions, the best place to start is by contacting your bank, financial institution, real estate agent or loan servicer, because many businesses want you to use their own power of attorney forms,” said Somerville. “Several of them post their own power of attorney forms to their websites for easy access and use by their customers. Your command legal officer or Region Legal Service Office legal assistance provider will be happy to notarize those documents, but remember you must sign them in their presence in order for them to properly notarize them.”
The new content was created to provide fleet customers with on-demand, 24/7 access to commonly-needed legal information and special powers of attorney forms.
“We want to limit the inconvenience of having to stand in line or drive long distances, or struggle to find base parking spots for a clerk to prepare a special power of attorney when that same form can be drafted in the convenience of your workplace, at home, or in the coffee shop,” said Somerville. “However, you must keep in mind that if you choose to prepare one or more of these power of attorney forms, it cannot be used until you have personally signed it in front of a trained and authorized notary public, such as your legal officer or a Region Legal Service Office legal assistance provider.”
If you have difficulty understanding any of the forms, or would like to discuss your power of attorney needs with an attorney or a paralegal, you should visit your nearest military legal assistance office.