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A very special power of attorney can give a person you designate the power to assume guardianship of your dependents in your absence. A guardian acts "in loco parentis"; that is, he or she acts in your absence, providing care, discipline and education for your family members.

A guardian also has the power to authorize medical care, incluidng emergency surgery. The guardian must fully understand and agree to fulfill his or her responsiblities. And you must be able to get your children and your pets to your guardian.

It is very important to designate a primary and alternate guardian. If something should happen to the primary guardian, then your alternate guardian can legally assume responsibility for the children's care.

An illness, accident, deployment or unemployment are just a few examples of what could happen to cause the primary guardian to be unable to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

Regardless of what form you use, check with a Legal Assistance Officer or a civilian lawyer regarding your state's laws before you sign a power of attorney designating a guardian for your children.

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