When your spouse leaves for basic training, you will be left with everything that surrounds the household – all the chores, childcare and the bills. When trying to handle all that will suddenly be in your lap, some tasks may be impossible to accomplish without him by your side. That is, unless you have one very important document – a Power of Attorney (POA).
The POA is a legal document that gives you the authority to act on his behalf. It allows you to sign for him, access his accounts and basically make decisions in his absence. It is a very powerful document and the responsibility of being the recipient of it should not be taken lightly.
Before he leaves, make sure that a POA is given to you or another responsible adult in the event it is needed while he is in training. Some possible occasions where it may be needed include inquiring about bills, signing a lease or accessing information about his pay stub. You also may need it in order to get your military identification card.
There are two types of POAs – general and specific. A general POA gives you wide latitude and you can act on his behalf in virtually any situation. With a specific POA, it will spell out exactly what you can and can’t do on his behalf. If you know before he leaves that you will need to deal with a certain business on his behalf, check with the business to ensure they will accept a POA. Some businesses, especially banks, will have their own forms that need to be notarized.
There are downloadable samples available online that can be altered to meet your needs. JAG and the recruiter’s office are also resources for having this document drawn up before he leaves for basic training.