Legal Issues + Deployment

The service member will probably be given a checklist with legal items that must be updated before the deployment. If this is a first deployment, you will have to visit your local legal assistance office or lawyer to have a will drawn up. If this is a subsequent deployment, it may be time to update your will or your estate plan.

You may also need a power of attorney for an agent (designated person such as a spouse or parent) to use in your absence. Confirm your designated person is willing to act as an agent on your behalf. Two common types of powers of attorney prepared by the legal assistance office are a general power of attorney and a special power of attorney. Typical powers of attorney are those for health care, selling or buying a vehicle, closing on a home, taking care of a minor child while the parent is away, working with the military family housing office, setting up a PCS move, etc. If you believe your family will need to use a power of attorney while you are away, you may want to confirm that a general or special power of attorney is acceptable. Some entities, such as a leasing company or financial institution, will only accept their specific power of attorney format.

Do you have an existing custody arrangement with a former spouse? You may want to review your custody arrangement to ensure a smooth transition for your child or children. Do you need to modify your current custody arrangement to accommodate your deployment? An attorney specializing in family law can assist with any changes you need. Be sure to read the Family Care Plan section for more information.

Are you a National Guard or Reserve service member? If you are called to active duty while employed, you have certain rights and benefits under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) when preparing for deployment, during deployment, and returning from deployment. Ask your employer or a military attorney to help explain your rights and protections.

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