A power of attorney is a very powerful document where one person designates another person to act as their agent. A power of attorney can be very useful but, if misused, can also be damaging to the person granting the power.
The grantor becomes irrevocably bound by the actions of the agent who uses a valid power of attorney. A general power of attorney allows the agent to do almost anything in the name of the person giving the permission.
Do I need a power of attorney?
If you are available to manage all of your affairs, then you do not need a power of attorney.
If you are deployed, TDY or otherwise unavailable to conduct your affairs, then you may need to give someone the power to conduct them for you.
With a power of attorney, your agent can act in your place.
Do not give someone a power of attorney unless it is absolutely necessary.
Do not get a power of attorney simply because your chain of command says you need one. It is important to select a grantee who is trustworthy and reliable.
There are two types of powers of attorney.
With a general power of attorney, your agent has the authority to manage and conduct all of your affairs. This includes, but is not limited to:
sell, lease and buy property for you,
enter into contracts for you,
represent you in any claim or litigation involving you or your interests,
sign and cash checks for you,
prepare, execute and file tax returns,
receive money for you, and
receive Leave and Earnings Statements.
There are limitations with a general power of attorney. These limitations include:
Your grantee may not cancel your life insurance policies or change any of your beneficiaries.
Your grantee may not act for you when representing someone else.
Your grantee may not change any allotments in your paycheck.
All powers of attorney are subject to the acceptance policies of the organizations with which you are dealing. Some organizations may require a special power of attorney.
This is a limited power of attorney in which you give the grantee authority only to act for you in specific matters.
For example, you can give someone a special power of attorney to sign for government quarters or pick up your POV.
Army Emergency Relief requires a special POA if you wish to give your agent authority to act on your behalf with them.
The Finance office does not require a special POA but it does require the use of specific language. So, while you can use either power of attorney with the Finance office, the language must be specific. Dependents with general powers of attorney may only obtain a Leave and Earnings Statement from the Finance office.
If you want your agent to have broader authority to deal with the Finance office, you can have these options placed in your GPOA:
change savings deposit program
stop savings deposit program
start thrift savings program
change thrift savings program
stop thrift savings program
obtain service relief loan
start savings deposit programs or change pay options such as monthly pay or direct deposit.
All powers of attorney must be completed in ink. Do not sign until you are in the presence of the notary public.
It is U.S. Army Alaska policy that powers of attorney not exceed one year. However, if you are deploying for a period of a year or more, your POA may be drafted to allow it to expire beyond the date of your expected redeployment.
If you find it necessary to give someone a power of attorney, give the most specific, least powerful, shortest duration power of attorney possible.
Retain a copy of the power of attorney for yourself. Copies should not be certified.
Check with the person or place that you intend to have the power of attorney used. Make sure the power of attorney will be accepted and find out if any special language or instructions are necessary. Many businesses and institutions will not transact business with agents using powers of attorney. No law requires them to do so.
Register the power of attorney with the clerk of courts at the court house in the area where it is to be used. There is usually a fee for this.
A power of attorney can be revoked at any time by the grantor.
The best way to revoke a power of attorney is to destroy it. If you cannot destroy the power of attorney, the next best thing is to execute a revocation of power of attorney.
Have a copy served on the agent named in the power of attorney. You should be able to prove that the agent was served.
Furnish a copy of the revocation to any place you think the agent might use the power of attorney. Make notification of revocation through an advertisement in the appropriate newspaper.
Register the revocation with the clerk of courts where the power of attorney might be used.
Soldiers with questions concerning powers of attorney should contact their Legal Assistance Office at 384-0371 for Fort Richardson or 353-6534 for Fort Wainwright.