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OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE

The 412th Test Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides high-quality legal advice and support in the areas of civil law, contract law, labor law, environmental law, claims and military justice for courts-martial and non-judicial punishment actions. The office also provides legal assistance to individual military members, retirees and family members on personal, non-criminal legal matters.

LEGAL CORNER: PCS MOVES

It is PCS season again, and whether this is your first move, or you are going to your fifth duty station, we have compiled a list of advice that may be of assistance in preparing you to move.  Please refer to our list to make your move as painless as possible.

 

  1. Family first – if you have dependents moving with you, make sure everyone is on the same page first.  Moving can be just as hard or harder on your significant other and your children as it is on you.  Discuss the move with your family, and attempt to drum up excitement about your new location instead of dread.  Kids can check out https://militarykidsconnect.health.mil/Military-Life/Moving for dealing with the stress of a move.  Then start planning your steps to move with your family, and include them in the steps.  You may need to plan for care for young children on packing days.  If you are not moving with dependents, this step still applies to you!  Let your family (parents, siblings, close friends, etc.) know that you are moving soon, and where you are moving to!  They may wish to help, or know someone at or near your new location that can help make the moving process easier.

 

  1. Start planning and start a moving binder – get a binder with sleeves or an accordion file with tabs to organize all the paperwork you will need for your move.  Your first tab should include an index page and your moving plan.  Start with your orders, your current rental agreement, copies of your important documents (license, birth certificates, etc.), perhaps a copy of this list if you find it helpful, your copy of the movers inventory, documented information of your goods (especially high value items) and pictures, pictures, pictures (see below).  To help with planning out your move, military one source has created the “plan my move tool” available at http://planmymove.militaryonesource.mil/.  Make sure you start researching your new location early!  Look for favorite food locations, find out the local crime rate (and COVID-19 rates and regulations), look for the nearest metropolitan areas, and see what amenities are available on base.  Keep your binder with you when you move!  This is the purpose of the binder, so you have all the necessary information on hand, it does not end up on a moving truck.  Also during your PCS, keep all receipts of your travel (airplane, gas, food, hotels, etc.), you may not be aware of some reimbursable expenses.

 

  1. Start organizing, purging, and eventually staging – if you’re more than a month out from your move, it is the perfect time to start deciding what you actually want to bring with you into your new place.  It is easy to just let the movers grab everything in sight, and they will, but you probably don’t want them to bring any broken appliances, old toiletries, or junk mail to your new apartment.  If you have a “miscellaneous drawer” that may be a good place to start purging.  If you have seasonal things you don’t plan on using prior to your move, you may want to get them together and start staging if you have the space for it.  As the move gets closer, try to use less and less, and staging more as the move gets closer.  If you are taking apart your furniture yourself, be sure to keep all of your furniture hardware together and inventory that as well (a Ziploc bag works well).  Remember any liquids you will have to move on your own if using

 

  1. Inventory! – this step goes hand-in-hand with your staging, and will be the most important step to legally protect you from liability for your damaged or lost items.  As you are staging your goods, and sometimes before, list with a brief description each item you are staging.  Any items that come as a set (silverware, cups, etc.), make sure you include the amount that you are packing.  Take pictures of all items as you list them, especially high value items.  For any antiques or valuables (jewelry, furniture, art, etc.) you may want to get them appraised and added to your moving binder.  For all electronics and/or mechanical goods, get a picture and/or video of the item working before unplugging it and staging it.  Any boxes or totes you pack yourself, ensure an inventoried list is kept with it and you have a copy in your moving binder.

 

  1. Time for the move! – remember to pack your “day one box” and label it as such.  You may want to include cleaning supplies, and necessities you will need for your first days in a new place.  Make sure you clean as you move in, and check and document any damage to your new place and immediately report it to the landlord (this includes any faucets, outlets, spigots, lights, appliances, etc. that do not work).  Once the movers arrive with your goods, ensure you check their inventory against your own, and as they bring things in, inspect them for damage.  If you notice the damage while the movers are still there, you will fill out either form 1850 or 1840 (the front of each) prior to the movers leaving (as they will sign for the damage as well).  Any additional damage you discover can be annotated on the back of the form.

 

  1. Reporting damage to your household goods – Once you have unpacked and completed the inventory of your goods, it is time to record and report any damaged or missing goods.  Again, your damage will be reported on the back of form 1850 or 1840.  You can also open a claim via DPS at www.move.mil (Make sure you hit “SUBMIT”).  You will have between 75 to 180 days to make a claim depending on the time and method of your move, please ensure you make all claims within this time period.  This does not mean you are filing a claim against your TSP.  Note that any damage that is repairable may require that the payment is for the repair of the item, and not a replacement of the item.  If you do not file with DPS in the allotted time, you may file a claim at https://claims.jag.af.mil/ , but you may not receive the “full replacement value” as you would filing within the allotted time period.

 

  1. Reporting damage to a POV – if you have your POV shipped, upon picking it up, take your time and thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of your vehicle.  Note any and all damage on DD Form 778 immediately and report the same to the base legal office or Claims Service Center.  Any further damage noticed after picking up your POV, must be reported within 30 days to the base legal office or the Claims Service Center.  Please note that if you accept any payment from the shipping company for damages to your POV at the time of pick up, that acceptance will be considered a FINAL settlement, and no compensation will be provided later.

 

If you follow the steps listed above, your move will be easier, and any claims you may need to file will be able to be compensated much more quickly and fully.  For any questions regarding moving claims you can contact your local base legal office (Edwards is at 661-277-4310) or the Air Force Claims Service Center at 1-877-754-1212 or by email at AFCSC.JA@us.af.mil.  Have a safe and successful move!

LEGAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES

The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides legal services and advice absolutely free to all active duty personnel and their dependents along with reservists and guardsmen on federal active duty and their dependents. In addition, retired personnel, their dependents, and dependent survivors may also receive legal assistance to the extent personnel and facilities are available.

Air Force attorneys and paralegals can assist eligible personnel with wills, powers of attorney, notary service, or advice on personal civil legal matters such as adoption, landlord-tenant issues, tax assistance, and consumer law questions. Legal assistance officers are licensed attorneys who are assigned by the Air Force to advise and counsel members on personal legal problems.

The Legal Assistance Program offers counseling for personal civil matters. Legal assistance officers cannot represent clients in court, nor can they advise persons who have hired a civilian attorney on the same subject matter. They cannot advise about criminal matters, or UCMJ related offenses, (active duty members with these issues should contact the Area Defense Counsel Office, at (661) 277-2809 or DSN 527-2809, nor can they assist someone to avoid paying a debt or advise someone regarding private commercial business and other outside employment. Legal assistance officers are also prohibited from preparing personal legal documents on behalf of those eligible, except for wills, powers of attorney, and affidavits.

Powers of Attorney, Notary and Claims services are available Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. – noon.  Real Estate and Refinance notary services are by appointment only.  Please call the legal office for additional information.

Please visit the Air Force Legal Assistance Website to find information on various legal assistance topics.  Also, please find useful information regarding common legal issues on the right side of this website under Legal Assistance Resources.

Legal assistance for personal, civil matters is available by appointment only.  Please call (661) 277-4310 to make an appointment.

WILLS/POWERS OF ATTORNEY

WILL ASSISTANCE

A will is a written legal declaration of how personal property should be distributed after death. The Legal Office can assist eligible military and family members as well as retirees and their dependents in preparing a will.  Before making an appointment, members should review the Will Considerations For Military Families fact sheet and complete a Will Questionnaire located on the Air Force Legal Assistance Website.

Wills require two separate appointments. Will preparation is done by appointment only. Will executions are conducted every Friday at 1000 hours.

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

With some planning, most people can usually handle their own affairs. However, there are times when you might need someone to act as your agent in your absence, to handle a particular piece of business. If you appoint someone to act for you, you do so by giving him or her your power of attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another to conduct legal actions on your behalf (such as selling a house) and can be either special (usually connected with a single transaction or event) or general (total power over another's legal affairs). Special powers of attorney drafted to fit individual needs on a one-time basis or for a limited period of time are usually your best choice. The Legal Office is prepared to draft both.

For more information about Powers of Attorney, or to fill out a Power of Attorney Questionnaire prior to your arrival at the base legal office, you can visit the Air Force Legal Assistance Website.

CONTACT US

412th Test Wing Legal Office

1 S. Rosamond Blvd.

Edwards Air Force Base, California 93524

Telephone: (661) 277-4310 / Fax: (661) 277-2887

 

The legal office is located on the first floor of the Air Force Test Center, Bldg. 1.

LEGAL CLAIMS

The Air Force Claims Service Center is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and processes personal claims for Airmen and civilian employees worldwide. Those with lost or damaged household goods, privately owned vehicles shipped at government expense, and theft or vandalism of private property located on the installation may be filed online with the claims office by visiting the Air Force Claims Service Center. The website also lists a toll-free and DSN numbers for assistance in filing a claim. Filing a claim and getting paid has never been easier or faster!

Two important things to keep in mind for household goods claims: noting the damage on the DD Form 1840/1840R (pink forms) and filing the DD Form 1840/1840R to the Air Force Claims Service Center website and/or directly with the carrier within 70 days of delivery.

First, it is important to note the damages or loss on the DD Form 1840 at the time of delivery and unpacking. If loss or damage is discovered after the movers leave your home, annotate the specified damage on the reverse side of the DD Form 1840 (DD Form 1840R). File all copies of the DD Form 1840 and 1840R to the Air Force Claims Service Center website and/or directly with the carrier within 70 days from the date of delivery. Failure to note damage/loss or to deliver the forms within 70 days from the date of delivery may have adverse effects on your claim. Although claimants have two years from the date of delivery to file a claim for loss or damage at depreciated value through the Air Force Claims Service Center, you only have 9 months to file with the carrier through DTS to receive full replacement value for your loss.

SMOOTH MOVE BRIEFINGS:

If you are required to complete the Smooth Move Briefing, you may access the online training module by clicking the Smooth Move Training Slide.

Smooth Move Briefings for personally owned vehicles can be viewed by clicking the Smooth Move POV Training Slide.

Once completed, please send your Smooth Move Certificate of Completion to 412tw.JA.Workflow@us.af.mil.

The 412th Test Wing Legal Office handles tort claims against the Air Force.  For more information call (661) 277-4310. 

TAX CENTER

Every year the Tax Center helps hundreds of clients with their federal and state taxes and refunds with no tax preparation fees. If you are eligible, we stand ready to help you with your taxes. This service is normally offered 1 February through 15 April, but is expanded for returning deploying members and their families.

The Tax Center is located at 1100 Kincheloe Ave., Edwards AFB, CA 93523. To schedule an appointment, call (661) 277-4310.

Tax Center clients should consult the What to Bring to Your Tax Appointment document that they will receive upon scheduling an appointment. Failure to bring the required documents, such as proof of social security numbers, will result in rescheduling the appointment. Prior to your appointment, you must also fill out IRS Form 13614-C and bring it with you to your appointment.