Reasons to need POA? — The Bump
Military Families

Reasons to need POA?

What are the reasons that a spouse needs POA? My husband will be TDY for a few months at a time the next year, and refuses to give me POA. I am mostly looking to have it for checks that come in his name, and just in case something comes up that is necessary for having that.


Basically, I don't want to be caught in a situation where I can't do something I need to do. My husband says he won't give me POA because he doesn't see a reason for it. 


Can you give me some situations where POA would be necessary? We are fairly new to the military, so I want to know if I have an incorrect perspective or not.


Re: Reasons to need POA?

  • Why would he refuse to give you one?  That is very strange to me, does he not want you to have access to his finances?  They are needed to do ANYTHING in his absence.  You will not be able to touch anything that is in his name (bank accounts, loans, bills, etc).  You may never need them, but it never hurts to have them.  You will need to do a general POA and specific POAs for anything that is in his name as general ones are often not accepted.  My H is deploying soon and we have a general, one for his car (only in his name), one for our house (which is in both of our names, but we got it just in case), one for his USAA account, one for his student loans, one for his cell phone and a few more that I can not think of right now. 

    ETA: It took almost no time to get them.  My H went down to the appropriate office, they went down a list and asked him what he had in his name, and then they gave him those POAs.  I think in total it took an hour, very easy process.

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  • Buying/selling a car.


    Anything to do with any of his accounts or credit cards.

    If you lose your military ID and need to get it replaced you'll need a POA since you're supposed to have your sponsor there.

    It's always a good idea to get one and frankly it's a bit of a red flag(IMO) he won't give you one.


    CJ 05/29/2013

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  • First I'd wonder why he's so hesitant if you feel like you need one. Is he afraid you'll clean out the bank account or buy a new car in his name?

    Do you have any bills that are solely in his name?  Credit cards, house or rental payment, utilities, etc?  Most all of those will not let you alter or even just inquire about the status of those accounts.

    A POA doesn't have to be general, if he's concerned he can certainly give specific POAs to cover certain things that are explicitly stated in the POA.  Will he have access to a legal team while TDY in case the need arises to get you a POA or could he take care of things over the phone with companies while gone?  If he will be stateside then I personally wouldn't worry about a POA but then most of our things are in both of our names so we don't even generally have need for a POA even while he's deployed. 

  • Basically, to take care of anything business related (banks, buying/selling) or military related (new ID card, stickers for car) in his absence.  And if you need to co-sign for anything and he isnt available, you can sign for him with your POA and a notary.

    A lot of guys are really discouraged from giving their spouses cart blanche POAs by their superiors because of war stories of women running away with everything (all money, belongings, etc) because they had that power.  So while I agree that there are red flags that he won't give you one (trust issue), if he is impressionable and have some superiors who have seen crap go down after long TDYs or deployments, I "understand" (in quotes because I don't agree).

    To me, if you love and trust someone enough to marry them and leave your child/ren in their hands then a POA is a given and shouldnt' be your concern.  I would hope my DH would be more worried about our kids than his money/stuff. 

    So I would definitely have a long talk about why he is worried about a POA (general or specific).  On my husband's deployments I have bought a house, rented our house out, sold a few cars, and really messed with our investments.  Sometimes a general POA sufficed but most of the time you need specifics (real estate, auto, etc).  It honestly sucks because the general POA is almost obsolete now.  Even the military has it's own form that they want filled out by the sponsor to get a new ID card. 

    The good news is that if you don't have one and something comes up you can often get them while they are gone.  Most guys have access to JAG and can get a POA written up and emailed out fairly quickly.  But remind him that if his credit card gets stolen and you try to call to fix it and you do not have a POA you will likely have your hands tied and be unable to help.  You guys are a team, it is sad that he wouldn't want you to have the power to make sure his things are in order while he's away.

    FWIW, not only have I had a POA for my DH, but a few of my husband's best friends (unmarried) have given me POAs to make sure I can help out if something came up on a deployment.  Again - TRUST.  My husband's friends have trusted me enough to handle their business and not take them to the cleaners.  If they can do that, I think it is preposterous that a man wouldn't trust his wife.

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  • When my husband deployed he gave me two POA's. One was for medical for our son, just in case something were to happen with him they reccomended that he make one so I could make all decisions about his care. The other that he gave me was a financial POA so that I could take care of all accounts that were in his name. There were a few that we later found would have been helpful, a housing POA and one relating to his car.
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  • I've only needed to use my POA once and that was to sign a lease before the PCS happening a week after he came home from deployment. In the past I've had them for his car but have never needed to use them (service centers do not care as long as the bill is paid).

    I believe that USAA has a specific one they use and will not accept the general one JAG or the command's legal officer creates.   I'm not sure about other banks, but I would assume so.

    Considering I had POA during DH's first deployment when we were still dating (we lived together) I find it sort of strange that your husband doesn't want to give you one.  If it were me, I'd wonder what on earth he thinks I'm going to do with it that would be bad.



  • i have 7 poas and can take over his life (insert evil laugh).

    more seriously, i have needed them many times. car decals, id, bank stuff, house buying, car stuff, medical stuff,  bill paying, it is always good to CYA when he is gone because you never know what can go wrong

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  • Forget the POA. Get to marriage counseling before he leaves. He refuses? The only reason for him to refuse is if he doesn't trust you. BIG red flag. 

    A POA is necessary anytime you and your spouse will be separated for a decent length of time (say a month or more). It is a precaution more than anything, IMO, for you to be able to handle your household business when he's away. 


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  • i never had any issues with my general POA being accepted during my husband's 2 deployments. Both times something weird came up that I needed to fix, mostly bank account stuff that needed to be worked out and because it's so expensive for them to call from overseas(or the ship in our case), I had to do it.

    During one deployment he lost his bank card and I had to order him a new one. He has also accidentally over drafted his USAA account that we have set aside for his spending money on deployment, that was a costly mistake, but could have been much worse if I hadn't been able to call and deal with it. 

     I also had to sign for him on a car once because we had bought it before he left but the bank apparently didn't get the papers, so I had to re-send them.

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  • I would be so upset at my husband if he wouldnt. My husband is currently out to sea (BOO!!) but got one before he left. So far I have had to use it because his credit card got stolen and most importantly because we got new orders and are moving less than a month after he returns home (While I will be 8 months pregnant!!!) completely across the country and being pregnant there is no way I am moving without having a house set up so I will need the power of attorney for the lease in both of our names. You may need it if anything happens.. there are too many unknown circumstances and if he is worried about something particular he can always put a clause in the POA... my husband used to do it with his motorcycle as a joke lol.. we had a longtime joke where i told him i would sell his motorcycle while he was gone so he put a clause in there saying i have no rights to the sale of his motorcycle lol :)
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  • I am a former Captain in the Army (I have been out for a year now to focus on being a mom :) and I can tell you that Service members are strongly cautioned when giving a POA to anyone. Talk to your husband about getting a special power of attorney for specific issues that he would like you to handle while he is gone. If your husband will only be gone a month or two you may not need a general POA. You did not mention why your husband is going TDY. If he is staying in the states for training or schools, he should still be able to take care of many things. If he is deploying to a combat zone then it is a different story altogether because he may be in a remote location where he may not be able to contact you for days or even weeks! You said you are new to the military (so maybe your husband is new too?) Do not fret if he is new he is still figuring out how to do everything (the military is crazy complicated!) Best of luck!!!!!
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  • imagelaurelkirsten:
    Service members are strongly cautioned when giving a POA to anyone.

    I've been in for 16 yrs and have had the complete opposite experience. Anytime our members are separated from their families - and the fact that many members can be called away at any time on a moments notice - they're encouraged to have a POA given to someone whom they TRUST to ensure their finances (mostly) are in order. One wrong move with finances and there goes your security clearance which is very important to many operations.

    Do you have a lot of separate accounts?

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  • When I still worked I investigated credit card fraud for a major bank.  I would see situations all the time where a person was deployed and had not left a POA back home.  Then fraud would occur on their card and since it was their card and not their spouses' card (even if the spouse was on the account) by law there was nothing that we could do to help them and they sometimes lost their money.  It is necessary  to have a signed affidavit claiming fraud, and it has to be signed by the person who's name is on the card that the fraud occurred on, unless the affidavit was signed by a POA and a copy of the POA papers were attached to the affidavit.

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  • Thanks everyone. I have no idea why he is so hesitant. I will take notes from everyone's responses and discuss with him again. Its frustrating because if something happens and I cant do what I need to then that would suck. Thanks again.
  • I'm a paralegal and have done tons of POAs AND have seen the bad sides of having a POA (spouse drains accounts, cheats and leaves soldier). Even the attorneys advise against a GPOA (General POA) which is all encompassing and you can do partially anything you want. If a special need arises and you need a POA, a SPOA (Special) can be done quickly for that particular reason (refinancing, buying/selling, etc) and can be scanned/faxed to you right away. I deployed and didn't give my mom a POA who was handling my finances this time around. She had a joint account and checks if needed and if I needed something more then I would of done a SPOA. Also many banks will not accept a GPOA or even a SPOA and will require their POA be used instead.

    There are many reasons to need one, but I was in Afghanistan, did POAs in under 5 mins and could scan them to email so the soldiers could email them home right away. It's not that hard of a thing to do, but it really depends on the soldiers location and if there is a paralegal or JAG available to do one. 

  • imageBacon+lettuce+tomato:

    Buying/selling a car.


    Anything to do with any of his accounts or credit cards.

    If you lose your military ID and need to get it replaced you'll need a POA since you're supposed to have your sponsor there.

    It's always a good idea to get one and frankly it's a bit of a red flag(IMO) he won't give you one.

    All of this.

    If you are on a lease with him and need to renew it with him on it (for the military clause), you'll need a POA. 

    Anything to do with bills or utilities in his name.

    I used mine A TON when my DH was at sea.  With it I sold our house, moved us into a temporary apartment, changed all the utilities over, dealt with all sorts of bills, and took care of everything necessary on the departure end for our cross country PCS.  I couldn't have done any of that, especially selling the house, without one.  For like a month straight I was using it almost daily for one thing or another.

    It really is a red flag that he's hesitant to give one to you. 


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