Powers of Attorney and Base Housing
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC; Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC; Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC; Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island; and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC; Installations within Marine Corps Installations East, have all entered into agreements with private commercial companies that dramatically affect the manner in which their base housing operates. Quarters are available to service members and their families aboard these installations; however, in most cases, the landlord will be a private company, not the United States government.
Leases and rent payment - In order to obtain privately run base housing, tenants are required to sign a lease. In most cases, rent payment will be made by allotment or electronic funds transfer of the basic allowance for housing (BAH) from the service member to the private company. What happens if the service member is not present to sign the lease and / or to initiate an allotment or EFT? That’s where the power of attorney comes in.
The service member can sign a power of attorney that allows another person (typically a spouse) to sign the lease on his/her behalf, to accept quarters, and to take any actions that may be necessary to initiate the appropriate allotment for rental payment. This article contains links to POAs that are specifically designed to facilitate these transactions in North Carolina.
General and Special Powers of Attorney - A General Power of Attorney (GPOA) is a broad grant of authority conveyed from its maker, or Principal; to the maker’s agent, often called the attorney-in-fact. Historically, this power of attorney has been very popular with service members, especially those about to deploy. The GPOA authorizes the agent to take a wide variety of actions on behalf of the Principal, at least in theory. North Carolina law provides that a person should accept a POA when it reasonably appears to authorize the business the agent wants to conduct, and improper refusal can result in liability [NC Gen Stat 32C-1-120(e)]. However, the statute also authorizes the person to request certification of the POA or to take certain specified actions that may otherwise cause delay. Further, a person is not obligated to do business with the agent under circumstances in which it would not do business with the principal. As a practical matter, enforcement of a disputed POA may be difficult. Many businesses and government agencies routinely accept a GPOA for transaction of business on the Principal’s behalf. Some don’t. Some bureaucratically require you to use their form. Some require a special POA. Sometimes you can get you POA honored by going to someone higher up in the agency’s hierarchy.
You can obtain a GPOA from the installation Legal Assistance Office that includes all the language necessary to authorize another person to accept base quarters on your behalf and to handle any required allotment process.
A special power of attorney (SPOA) grants only the authority specifically listed. It is therefore less likely to be abused by the agent and may be more readily accepted, but is less flexible and covers a narrower range of contingencies. SPOAs specifically designed for the purpose of accepting base housing and taking necessary action to sign the lease and pay the rent are available at the legal assistance office.
Filling out the POA/Duration - The power of attorney is easy to fill out. In the blanks provided near the top of the instrument, the Principal and agent must be identified. Towards the end of the document will be blanks to fill out indicating the date the document was signed and the date it is to expire. The expiration date should be far enough in the future to cover the period of time when the Principal is expected to be unavailable. Regardless of the indicated expiration date, all POAs have no effect upon the death of their maker.
Execution of the POA - The POA must be executed; that is, signed, by the Principal, in front of a notary. The Principal must be personally known to the notary or must prove his/her identity through some documentation, such as a military identification card and a driver’s license.
Notarization - After the Principal proves his/her identity and signs the POA, the notary signs the POA as well. Services of Public Notaries are available for members, retirees, and their dependents at the military legal assistance offices free of charge, Also, in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 47-2, any officer of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard with the rank of warrant officer or higher may notarize documents, provided that certain requirements are met concerning the document, the notary certification, and the notary signature block. Because of these requirements, it is generally preferable to obtain the assistance of a notary public or legal assistance attorney to notarize documents. However, the Special POAs linked to this article have been designed to meet these requirements.
Special Power of Attorney Forms - Two SPOA options are provided herein that can be used to authorize someone else to initiate base housing for you:
--SPOA for base housing; Notarization by notary public
--SPOA for base housing; Notarization before commissioned officer
Pre-deployment Legal Briefs – POAs and notaries are available at installation legal assistance offices. Additionally, the Camp Lejeune legal assistance office conducts pre-deployment legal briefs are provided at the legal assistance office every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 as well as Tuesday afternoons at the Base Theater at 1:00 p.m. Attendees will receive information concerning many common legal issues related to deployment. Such briefs are conducted at MCAS Cherry Point on an as needed, as requested basis.
Those who wish to do so will be able to obtain and execute POAs at the conclusion of these briefs. You may call to confirm these dates/ times, as they sometimes change due to other commitments. Units can schedule such briefs with the Legal Assistance Office for a mutually convenient time and place, and deploying units are particularly encouraged to do so well in advance of any deployment.