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This article is written by Vanya Verma from O.P. Jindal Global University. This article covers all the necessary documents one needs to take care of before leaving for deployment in the USA.


Being ready for deployment is a way of life in the military. One may be duty-ready, but should not overlook preparations on the homefront. Before deploying, make sure to create or amend any necessary legal documents. Do it for the sake of your family. Many personal and practical difficulties arise as a result of deployment orders. The urge to get things in order and the need to do so fast is one of the most common desires. Even when you’re not at home, you want to safeguard and care for your home and loved ones. 

Legal steps to take before deployment

Designate a power of attorney

A power of attorney appoints one or more people to act on your behalf for legal or financial matters for a set period of time. Banking transactions, property sales or purchases, and medical decisions are some examples of these challenges. Powers of attorney come in various forms:

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Powers of attorney might be general, specific, or limited.

  • A general power of attorney gives a designated representative(s), the legal authority to act on the behalf of a service member or grantor. 
  • A specific or limited power of attorney is one that is limited to a single transaction or commercial connection. Powers of attorney for specific bank accounts, automobiles, or activities such as the sale of a certain property are examples of this. Detailed information should be included in a special power of attorney. The disadvantage of employing special powers of attorney is that you’ll need one for each business relationship being covered.

Regular, long-lasting, and revolving powers of attorney

  • Regular: When you assign a regular power of attorney, it takes effect immediately. A standard power of attorney is valid until it expires, is revoked, the grantor becomes incapacitated, or when either party dies.
  • Durable: When a durable power of attorney is assigned, it normally goes into effect immediately and lasts until it expires, is revoked, or when one of the parties dies. However, a durable power of attorney has particular language that allows the representative’s powers to continue even if the grantor is incapacitated.
  • Springing: A springing power of attorney does not become effective until a specific event occurs; most commonly when the grantor becomes incapacitated and unable to make their own decision, the power of attorney becomes effective. They may or may not have an expiration date.
  • Termination: A power of attorney is only valid for a given amount of time or during a certain event, such as the duration of a deployment. When that time period or event has ended, the POA will automatically expire.

Making use of the appropriate POA forms

In many circumstances, the corporation or organisation will want you to use their unique form to pre-file the power of attorney with them, or meet other conditions. To find out what format and policy your bank, insurance company, or other institution prefers for submitting documents, it’s preferable to contact them.

Choose an ideal person to represent you

Choose the appropriate person(s) to represent you in any legal or financial matters that may occur. This person can be someone you trust, such as your spouse/partner, parents, or a close friend.


  • Figure out the type(s) of power of attorney you’ll require.
  • To prepare or update the required power(s) of an attorney, contact your installation legal services office or a civilian attorney. To locate a legal help office near you, use the Armed Forces Legal Services Locator.
  • Work with the individual you designated as your power of attorney to determine where the power(s) of attorney documentation will be kept. Legal offices are not a repository for powers of attorney or wills. You must keep your copy secure.
  • Set up your power of attorney for the period of your deployment, plus three months extra in case it is extended.
  • You must go through crucial papers with the person(s) you’ve chosen, such as your leave and earnings statement, insurance documents, bank account information, and so on, so they’re ready to make decisions pertaining to this if the need arises.

Make a living, last will and testament

If you’re unable to make decisions due to a major accident or sickness, a living will, also known as an advance directive, specifies the medical procedures you want or don’t want.

A last will and testament, often known as a will, is a legal document that specifies how your property, and possessions will be distributed after your death. If you don’t have this document, the court may step in.

Before you call legal services, consider the following points and discuss them with your spouse, partner, or parents.

  • In the event of a serious illness or accident, decide which medical procedures you want and which you don’t. This could include instructions on resuscitation, mechanical ventilation and organ donation.
  • Make a decision on who will be your executor (i.e. the person who will make sure that what you say in your will is carried out).
  • Decide who will be your children’s guardian.
  • Make a list of your assets, liabilities, and any special gifts that you may have received.

Consult your installation’s legal services office if you have any questions. They can also assist you with document preparation, or you can hire a civilian attorney. 


  • Even if you already have a will, consult with an attorney to examine it and make any necessary changes before your deployment.
  • Ensure that your address appears on all legal documents.
  • Ascertain that a designated person, such as your spouse, partner, or parent, is aware of where your legal documents are stored and how to access them.

Make a family care plan

This document serves as a guide for how you want your family to be looked after while you’re away. If you’re a member of the military, you’ll need a plan if you’re:

  • Single parent
  • Dual-member couple with dependents
  • Married with sole custody o0000r shared custody of a child whose non-custodial biological or adoptive parent is not the service member’s present spouse, or who otherwise bears sole responsibility for children under the age of 19 or individuals unable to take care of themselves in the absence of a service member.
  • Primarily responsible for family members that are dependent on you.

Update your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and DD Form 93

Service members are eligible for Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI), which they must update or confirm at least once a year during in- and out-processing. The milConnect website allows you to update your SGLI.

The Record of Emergency Data, also known as DD Form 93, is an official and legal document used by the military to select beneficiaries of certain benefits and decision-makers in the case of your death or missing status.

When a life event occurs, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary, or a change in a beneficiary’s residence, it is critical that you check and update your SGLI and DD Form 93.

Note that updating your SGLI does not update your DD Form 93; instead, you must access it through the Electronic Military Personnel Office, or eMILPO.

Understand your protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Active-duty service personnel and their families, including those in the National Guard and reserves, are protected financially and legally under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Here are some of the legal safeguards to keep in mind as you prepare for deployment:

  • Civil court cases that have been postponed: You can request a 90-day postponement, or stay, in a civil court action or administrative procedure if you are unable to participate due to your military duty. This may include divorce actions, child paternity and support cases, and foreclosure processes. Any criminal court or criminal administrative proceedings are not covered by this protection.
  • Eviction prevention: Regardless of the text of your rental agreement or local laws, you and your family cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent without a court order. This protection applies to homes with monthly rents that are less than a particular amount. For further information, contact your local legal aid office.
  • Residential leasing agreements can be terminated if you signed a lease and subsequently received orders to deploy for more than 90 days. You can do so by giving written notice of cancellation. Agricultural, professional, and corporate leases are all covered by this protection.
  • Automobile lease termination: If you signed a lease agreement before receiving your deployment orders, you may end the lease for your car.
  • Right to vote in your home state: Your voting residency for state, federal, and local elections is unaffected by your deployment from the state. Spouses have similar protections.

Update Life Insurance

Military deployment is risky in many instances. Men and women in the military may be required to operate in difficult settings or participate in combat missions. With a higher level of risk comes a greater requirement for accountability. It’s a good idea to double-check that your life insurance and will are current in case the worst happens.

While it is unpleasant to consider the worst-case situation, it is preferable to be prepared so that your friends and family are not burdened with financial and legal issues. Taking the effort to ensure that those you leave behind are cared for and that your property is passed on to the right people might help you avoid future difficulties.

Guard your identity

While serving your country, you may also be exposed to another danger, i.e. identity theft. Because it can be more difficult to keep a track of your credit while on active service, the danger of ID theft can be higher. Take precautions to safeguard your identity, such as requesting a free security freeze. A security freeze prevents credit reporting agencies from disclosing your personal information to new creditors without your permission. Identity thieves may be unable to obtain new credit in your name as a result of this. An active duty alert is another approach to protect yourself against identity theft while away from your regular duty station.

Know your rights as a renter

Military personnel who finish their leases early owing to premature or involuntary discharge, or a permanent change in duty station requiring travel of more than 50 miles, are subject to a cap on the amount of rent owed under State law. Military members can break their lease by giving their landlord written notice at least 30 days before their move date, according to the law. A copy of their official military orders or a written verification signed by a superior officer must be included in the notice.

Get your financial house in order

Ensure that your financial records are current and accurate. This means giving your husband or wife (who will be paying the bills for the next few months) all bank account and credit card numbers, a list of assets and outstanding debts, a list of typical expenses like rent and utilities, as well as all phone numbers and addresses needed to deal with financial matters.

Taxes must be paid

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Decide how your taxes will be filed and who will file them before you deploy. If your spouse is going to be filing taxes for the first time, make sure he or she has all of the appropriate paperwork. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) also allows military personnel to file for an extension by using Form 2350.

Financial obligations to be fulfilled prior to deployment

There are various financial factors to address before your deployment begins, in addition to marking legal matters off your pre-deployment checklist:

  • Notify your credit card issuers and banks that you will be deployed so that they can accept charges from outside the United States.
  • Notify all of your lenders that you will be deployed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act caps the amount of interest that can be imposed on certain financial obligations acquired prior to deployment to not more than 6%. This includes credit cards, mortgages, and vehicle loans.
  • Consider opening a joint bank account (if you don’t already have one) to make it easier to pay bills and keep track of your finances.
  • Set up automatic deposits into the appropriate accounts. Some of your benefits may be deposited directly into your savings account.
  • Make a list of all your accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, utilities, and so on, with account numbers and due dates.
  • Consider setting up automatic payments on any bills that are applicable.
  • Provide a copy of your family’s budget.
  • Create an emergency fund or a credit card to be used in the event of a true emergency.

Precautions to safeguard personal belongings before deployment

Before you launch, check off these items on your to-do list:

  • Notify your homeowner insurance company that your house is going to be vacant. Also, inform them if you are putting your goods in a storage unit.
  • If you rent and live alone, you have the option to terminate your agreement. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act gives you the legal authority to do so (SCRA).
  • Notify your car insurance company of your deployment. If your car will not be used, you may be eligible to cancel all or part of your coverage.
  • Make arrangements for roadside assistance so that your family has access in the event of a breakdown. Make sure the vehicles are equipped with emergency kits and that your spouse is familiar with how to utilise them.
  • Create a vehicle maintenance schedule and a list of favourite mechanics or auto shops in case of an issue.
  • Make an extra set of keys for your house and car.

Other preparations to be taken care of

Here are some last-minute pre-deployment tasks to remember:

  • Make sure your Emergency Data Form is up to date with your family’s current email addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information.
  • Make sure your family’s military IDs are current and won’t expire while you’re gone.
  • Notify your phone carrier that you will be out of the country. It’s possible that they’ll need to update your phone in order for you to make and receive international calls.
  • Make a Facetime or video chat schedule so you may talk to your loved ones over the internet.
  • Even if you don’t plan to utilise it, make sure your children are enrolled with the Child Development Center. If your partner becomes ill or has to travel, this may be necessary.
  • Provide phone numbers for your family members to call if they need to contact the rear-detachment or family support groups.

By taking preemptive measures, you may assist everyone in becoming more organised and prepared to deal with potential issues while deployed.


All the main documents and necessary steps that a person needs to take before heading towards deployment are covered in this article.


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