Andi’s post about the Meaningless Power of Attorney has some bearing in my life as well. Before MacGyver deployed, I had a checklist of all of the things I wanted/needed while he was gone:
- family care plan (in case I was incapacitated while he was deployed)
- PowerS of Attorney
I have two. I have a General which is essentially worthless. I don’t know that it is worth the paper it is written on. I’ve never used it and probably never will need to. Then I have a Specific Power of Attorney. This one allows me to do everything except have MacGyver’s wisdom teeth pulled while he’s deployed. JAG was less than enthusiastic about preparing such a document – I am sure they have seen many a soldier taken advantage of by their spouse with such a document. But that is NONE of their business.
So I made sure I had it. While he is gone, I want to have as much control over OUR lives as possible. However, when I went to buy my car, I found that there are no Hawaiian banks that will accept a Power of Attorney of any kind. And that is their prerogative. The dealership suggested that I apply under my own name for the financing with the Hawaiian bank. I politely declined and told them that I refused to do business with any entity that would not accept a military Power of Attorney. It’s a matter of principle. Deployments are a fact of life in the military and there are very few places on this planet where the military is so prevalent in society than in Hawaii. Any business or entity that is not willing to accept my military Power of Attorney is therefore not accepting me as a military spouse nor are they accepting my husband as a military member. Therefore they do not need or want my business.
So I chose to go with a non-Hawaiian bank and they lost business and money. Their choice. Mine too.
However I also realize the fact that financial institutions are not bound to accept any Power of Attorney. Therefore I took steps to ensure access to all financial accounts that MacGyver and I have. My name is on every account. I am not an "authorized user" on all of them (don’t need to be, nor do I want to be. Too many "open" accounts is not good for the credit rating if you care about that type of thing) but I am able to access account information, make payments, inquire about purchases and charges on the account, etc. It is good for my husband’s credit (again, if you care about a credit rating…some people do not) if I am on top of these things while he is gone. Otherwise, issues with those accounts may not be addressed until he comes home for R&R (who wants to do THAT?) or until he redeploys.
Because I have access to all of our accounts, I really don’t "need" a Power of Attorney of any kind. But it’s nice to have one should I need it, especially when dealing with Finance (who DO accept Power of Attorney!).