Legal Assistance has been impacted by COVID 19 precautionary measures. The office is operating on an appointments only basis. For all appointments, send an email describing the service you are requesting. Please include your name and phone number. Legal assistance will contact you within two business days to set up an appointment, as appropriate. Appointments requiring a consultation with an attorney will be conducted telephonically or through email. Exceptions will be on a case-by-case basis for urgent or emergency-type situations. Any patrons entering the office must wear a mask and must bring their own pens to sign any documents.
POAs & LEGAL OFFICES
PCSing requires a lot of appointments and paperwork. As a spouse, there are times when you’ll need to or want to be the person who takes over these responsibilities, especially if your Soldier is not able to because of training or deployments. In many cases you’ll need legal authority, meaning a Power of Attorney (POA), to make such decisions on behalf of your Soldier.
WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA)?
A power of attorney is a written instrument that allows you (the "principal") to authorize someone else (your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to act on your behalf and carry on your business in your absence. For example, you might wish to allow a friend to sell your car or ship your household goods. Never have a POA unless you need one and always try to make it a Special POA.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF POAS?
There are two basic types of powers of attorney:
- General POA: A general POA allows an agent to do most things that you could legally do yourself, from obtaining a loan to signing a rental contract.
- Special POA: A special (or limited) POA only allows an agent to perform specified acts. Never use a general POA when a special POA can be used.
NOTE: Your Soldier must be present to sign a POA in the presence of the notary, but you (the “agent”) do not.
MILITARY SPOUSES, PCSING & POAS
It’s a safe bet that you’ll need a POA at some point during your PCS to handle matters when your Soldier isn’t able to. The pace of in-processing in Vicenza is fast, so consider getting POAs BEFORE PCSing to arrive better prepared. Consult your Legal Office.
Here a few instances when you might need a POA:
- Ship, pick up, or register a vehicle overseas
- Set up banking & manage finances
- Sign leases and housing documents
TIP: The Legal Assistance Offices at Caserma Ederle or the Brigade Legal Office at Caserma Del Din can prepare general, special, or health care POAs on a walk-in basis.
WHEN DOES A POWER OF ATTORNEY EXPIRE?
The expiration date of a POA should be specified in the document and never be made indefinite. Regardless of an expiration date, however, all POAs will automatically terminate when revoked or when either you or your agent die (unless a substitute agent is named).
SJA LEGAL SERVICES
SJA & VICENZA LEGAL ASSISTANCE OFFICES
From international law to tax centers and Legal Assistance Offices, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides legal services to Commanders and their staff, military law enforcement, Soldiers, retirees, civilian employees, and their families. Legal assistance attorneys serving in the Vicenza Legal Assistance Office also have the additional dimension of hands-on experience in the laws of Italy.
Visit your local SJA office to learn about their services.
WANT TO WORK OVERSEAS?
Command Sponsored dependents stationed overseas must abide by the employment regulations set forth in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Contact your Legal Assistance Office for details.
In addition to the walk-in services for power of attorney, the Legal Assistance Office offers the following services on an appointment basis:
- Assist with questions pertaining to overseas employment and SOFA regulations
- Affidavits for Soggiorno (bring birth & marriage certificates, PCS Orders, & ID)
- Wills (must first complete a will worksheet)
- Estate planning
- Advance medical directives and health care powers of attorney
- Debt collection/credit reporting problems
- Identity theft
- Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
- OER and NCOER appeals
- FLIPL rebuttals and requests from reconsideration
- GOMOR rebuttals, removals, and transfers
- Security clearance rebuttals and appeals
- Immigration and naturalization
- Separation and divorce counseling
- During the tax season, the Legal Assistance Office operates a tax center.
SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT
WHAT IS SCRA?
In 2003, President Bush signed the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) into law which replaced and expanded the former Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) from 1940. The SCRA offers many protections to Activity Duty Servicemembers ranging from mortgages to interest rates. The SCRA can come into play in matters relating to:
- Foreclosures & Mortgages
- Auto loans
- Leases & Contracts
- Legal Proceedings
- Family Law Considerations
For a summary of SCRA protections visit: Military OneSource
For more detailed examples of SCRA protections, visit: Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA)
For the nitty gritty, visit: United States Code
To learn more about SCRA protections and whether they might apply to your family prior to or during an OCONUS PCS or deployment, contact your Legal Assistance Office on post.