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Navy  lawyers  who  are  members  of  the  Navy  Judge Advocate   General’s   Corps. This   assistance   is available  to  give  you  advice  in  connection  with  any personal  legal  problem  you  might  have.     Navy lawyers,  however,  cannot  normally  represent  you  in civil court. More than 200 Navy legal assistance offices are located  at  commands  throughout  the  world  and aboard large naval vessels.  We cannot overemphasize the importance of taking advantage of this service and consulting  a  Navy  lawyer  before  you  make  major decisions that have legal implications.   For example, whenever  you  transfer,  you  may  unintentionally change your domicile or permanent legal home.  This change  might  affect  your  property  ownership  or subject  you  to  new  state  tax  liabilities,  automobile registration,  and  driver’s  license  laws.    It  also  may affect distribution of your property if you die intestate (without a will) or place some control over what you may  put  in  your  will  (in  some  states  you  cannot “omit”  your  spouse).   To  avoid  these  problems,  you should  make  it  a  point  to  periodically  discuss  your personal, legal, and financial affairs with your Navy lawyer. POWER OF ATTORNEY A  power   of   attorney   is   the   formal   written appointment of another person to act as your agent.  It can  be  for  a  specific  purpose  (called  a  limited  or special power of attorney), or it can be for the general transaction of your affairs (called a general power of attorney).    Even  though  your  agent  is  limited  to  the powers  specifically  written  down  in  the  document, you should give a power of attorney only with caution and only where absolutely necessary.  For instance, if you are in the process of buying or selling a house or car, you may want to leave a special power of attorney limited only to that purpose. In years past, leaving a power of attorney with a friend  or  relative  to  take  care  of  contingencies  that might arise while a service member was deployed was considered    essential. Today,    because    of improvements  in  communications  and  the  wide availability of Navy lawyers, we do not recommend executing  a  power  of  attorney  without  a  specific reason.  If your spouse must cash checks made out to you,  you  can  usually  arrange  to  have  the  checks deposited  in  a  joint  bank  account  or  make  prior arrangements   with   the   bank. Most   documents requiring  your  signature  while  you  are  away  from home can be sent to you to sign.   Legal officers are available  to  act  as  notary  publics  if  the  document needs  notarization.     Few  unforeseen  emergency situations will require your signature in less time than that needed for someone to mail a document to you to read, sign, and return. In any event, before you give anyone a power of attorney, be sure to consult a legal assistance officer. You should be aware of all the legal effects of what you are doing so that the document can be specially tailored to fit your individual needs. WILLS Do  not  assume  that  if  you  are  young  or  do  not have much property, you should not make a will.  The property  of  a  person  who  dies  without  a  will  is distributed according to state laws.  In effect, the state writes  your  will.   By  preparing  a  will,  you  have  the opportunity  to  dispose  of  your  property  and  to  take care of your family the way you want. Even  though  a  will  may  look  simple,  it  is  not  a do-it-yourself document.  Many factors affect the way a will must be written to pass property exactly as you want it.  A lawyer is trained to recognize these factors. A will should always be drafted to meet the particular needs of each person.   NEVER use blank or “fill-in” will  forms.   Consult  a  legal  assistance  officer  about preparing a will that will be best for you. YOUR MAILING ADDRESS You  will  move  around  quite  a  bit  during  your naval  career.  You  may  be  aboard  ships  that  spend weeks at sea.   Your mail will have enough necessary delays   without   you   making   things   worse   by inaccurate  or  delayed  changes  of  address.     You  are responsible for sending your correct mailing address to correspondents, publishers of magazines, insurance companies (regardless of whether premiums are paid by  allotment),  and  anyone  with  whom  you  have business  dealings.     The  post  office  has  Notice  of Change of Address cards specifically for this purpose. As soon as you receive your orders, start notifying people  of  your  new  address.   Notify  your  new  duty station  so  that  mail  arriving  there  is  held  for  you. After  detachment,  keep  the  old  station  informed  of your address so that mail arriving after you have gone may be readdressed and forwarded. Naval   ships   have   unique   postal   ZIP  Codes addressed through a fleet post office (FPO) identified by  such  codes  as  AE  and  AP.    You  can  find  out  the 4-14

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