Association of Military Banks of America

PCS Like a Boss: MILDOCS for Legal Documents

By Amanda Mitchell, AFC® Candidate

If you have been following the previous blog posts about creating your MILDOCS binder, you will notice that most sections are focused on information that needs to be at the ready in the case of a move or other unexpected situations. Most of these documents will be used in the immediate future during the movements of your nomadic military life. While the legal documents section of your MILDOCS binder will contain items that are less likely to be needed while you are on the move, this does not diminish its importance. This section will include some items that may be required in the short-term and documents that are critical to long-range planning for your family. Let’s get started!

First, print your legal documents checklist here. Documents that will be included in this section are:

  • Marriage license/certificate
  • Last Will & Testament
  • Trust
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Guardianship paperwork
  • Adoption paperwork
  • Divorce decree
  • Medical directive
  • Funeral plans

*Pro-Tip* Make copies of these documents and put them in a safe place someone you trust knows where to find them in case of an emergency.

What if I don’t have all of these documents?

Many of these documents are situation-specific, and not everyone will have them. However, while creating your MILDOCS legal documents section, you should carefully consider the following if you do not have them:

  • Last Will & Testament
  • Medical Directive
  • Funeral Plans
  • Powers of Attorney

Why do I need a power of attorney?

A power of attorney can be a comforting thing to have as a military family. You never know when a deployment might be thrown at you or when your spouse may have to leave suddenly for an extended period. Having a power of attorney ensures that you can get important tasks done, such as replacing a lost ID card, without having your spouse present. For more information on powers of attorney, see here:

Why have a will and medical directive?

Confronting your mortality can be an uncomfortable experience. Many people avoid creating these documents because of it. The purpose of a will, medical directive, and making your funeral plans is to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to vocalize them. If you are still on the fence as to whether you need these documents, consider the following:

  • Do you have any assets?
    • Savings accounts
    • Vehicles
    • A house
    • Life insurance
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you care who gets your things or is entitled to any money you have?
  • Do you have specific wishes about what happens to you after you die?
  • Do you trust that others will make the best medical choices for you if you are incapacitated?

For more information about estate planning:

Where can I get these documents?

Each military installation will have an off of the Judge Advocate General (JAG). You can find your local JAG office here. The best part about using your installation’s JAG office is that it is free.