Military Power of Attorney

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Overview
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal way to have a person act on your behalf. The POA gives someone else the right to act on your behalf on matters that you list in the POA.

If you are the person that gives the authority to someone to act on your behalf, then you are the principal. The person who you give the right to act on your behalf is called the agent.  

The power to act on your behalf can be very specific to a certain task or the power can be very broad. The power can start immediately or only after some event occurs. These events may include events such as if you become mentally incompetent or only after a certain date. The POA does not take away your right to act on your behalf.

All States Are Required to Recognize
Military Powers of Attorney

Federal law states that a Military Power of Attorney is legally effective regardless to specific state law. See (10 U.S.C. §1044(b)).

Different Types of Power of Attorneys
There are different types of Powers of Attorney.  Each type has a different purpose and grants different levels of power to the agent.   

  • Durable Power of Attorney: A Durable POA remains or becomes effective if you become incompetent. Incompetent means that you are unable to manage your affairs. A durable POA must contain exact language with what your intent is for the agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without that language, it will not be valid if you do become incapacitated.
     
  • General Power of Attorney: This type of POA allows the agent to carry on business or other matters for the principal. This type of POA usually has very broad powers.
     
  • Special Power of Attorney: A Special Power of Attorney limits the power of attorney. The agent is to carry out only certain matters for the principal.
     
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is an advance health care directive. It allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you. This includes the power to consent to or withdraw from any type of medical treatment, even if death results.

The agent can use the powers given all through the principal’s life. These powers are effective even after the principal becomes disabled, unless it is revoked or the court revokes it. The principal may combine a Durable Power of Attorney with a Living Will.

When does a Power of Attorney end?
A Power of Attorney can end either by setting a specific date for it to end, if the agent or principal dies, or if the principal revokes it in writing.

You can revoke a Power of Attorney by giving written notice to the agent. If a Power of Attorney is durable, and you become incompetent, only the court can revoke it during the time you are incompetent. This could happen if an interested party petitions the court on your behalf, alleging that the attorney-in-fact has violated his or her responsibilities.

How do I get a Power of Attorney?
We have some sample Power of Attorney forms. If you are active duty, then your legal assistance staff can prepare a general Power of Attorney based on your own needs.

Additional Resources

Resource Date: September 2010