DOD doesn’t Trust Your Military Power of Attorney Forms

Military Power of Attorney Forms
Military Power of Attorney Forms

Military Power of Attorney Forms (POA) are different for each branch of the military.  As I will describe below, I really believe military personnel should have a military version of their POA and a civilian power of attorney.

None the less, lets quickly break down the military and civil side.

Because each branch is different, each member of the military is encouraged to take three steps when trying to formalize a POA:

  1. Contact their local JAG office and schedule an appointment,
  2. Follow the formalization steps recommended by JAG, and
  3. Seek out an non-JAG attorney and acquire a document exclusive to a permanent residence

Military Power of Attorney Forms

Nobody really knows when or for how long they will be on or at a military installation.  Those living state side or elsewhere are always prone to the requirements of a military installation.

As a result, I believe a quality estate plan for members of the military includes a completed military power of attorney form.  So you know, each branch uses a different form.

Thus, here are links for each branch.

Interestingly enough and as the websites suggest, Marines are trusted with an actual form while the remaining four military branches are asked to make an appointment with their local JAG office.

Even so, Marines are encouraged to seek out their JAG office too such that they can properly formalize the form suggested by the USMC.

Civil Power of Attorney Forms

Lets be clear, using an estate planning document like a POA isn’t used to collect the mail.  Instead, it is used to help us when we cannot help ourselves.  Whether we are sick, injured, or deployed, these types of documents are life-savers.

For the military personnel with a Minnesota, a free power of attorney form can be found here.  Really though, acquiring a short-form power of attorney and more significantly, a durable power of attorney is a much stronger approach.

Again, why?  Because those serving in the armed forces (including Guard and Reservists), want to reduce problems and headaches on their family in a time of urgency.

Why Military need more than one form

I wish this wasn’t the case, but encouraging landlords, banks, doctors and other professionals who do not work on military bases or near a military installation is challenging.  Also, a lot of folks serving in the armed forces have property (bank accounts, real estate, cars, stuff) spread out.  In other words, we cannot always bring all of our possessions with us when we travel abroad or get deployed.

For example, if I joined the military and my spouse brought an Air Force power of attorney form to an insurance agent in Minneapolis, the likelihood of the agent understanding what they were looking at is unlikely.  As a result, they might not honor the form.

On the other hand, if I brought a power of attorney form consistently used in Minnesota (like in this example), I am less likely to have a conflict.

Again, I certainly wish this wasn’t the case, but experience tells me otherwise.

Military Power of Attorney Forms Risks

The risk of having more than one form that shares or expresses a power is contradiction.  If your military power of attorney form contradicts a non-military power of attorney form, then the end goal can come to a halt.

Here are a few examples of Minnesota military members contradicting their power of attorney forms:

  • Allowing or denying decisions while unconscious,
  • Allowing or denying decisions while incapacitated,
  • Requiring accounting practices, and
  • Durable power of attorney form contradicts a shorter version power of attorney form.

Why DOD Doesn’t Trust You?

Any 18-year-old person can find a power of attorney form and fill it out on their own behalf.

Compare this to a member of the military.  Members of the military are forced to answer a bunch of questions and seek an appointment with their local JAG office.  And, Marines are granted access to a POA form while other branches are not.  I am in favor of customer service, but sometimes we need a POA immediately.

Other times, a member of the military needs confirmation that their possessions back home are protected even more than their possessions within the confines of a military base.

I believe taking charge of my own affairs is the best process.

Military Power of Attorney Forms for Veterans

No, the above referenced forms are not necessarily the same forms that veterans of the military should be using.

Therefore, if you are serving in the military and need estate planning support, please contact me directly.