Understanding a VA Alive and Well Statement for Military POA Closings

Service members and military Veterans have a very affordable way to buy a home with a VA loan.  This is a huge advantage for military buyers and feel free to check our expansive library of VA articles backing this up!  But what if the active duty or Veteran borrower is not available for closing?  Well, most military families are familiar with the general requirements for a Power of Attorney (POA).  A POA allows another to sign for the Veteran that is unable to attend closing.  But a lesser known requirement is the mortgage lender must verify the Veteran is “alive and well”.  This certification is actually called a VA Alive and Well Statement.

Military service members are used to being tied up or even out of the country.  But buying a home is still possible in these cases.  We have even helped military families where the service member is stationed overseas throughout the home purchase.  Of course it is very important to bring up this point to your loan officer as it is important to prepare for the alive and well certification process.

VA Alive and Well Statement ProcessVA alive and well statement

Although the Alive and Well cert happens in the end, early discussion is paramount.  Of course, military families know better than anyone that changes happen at any time.  A deployment or special mission could come at a moment’s notice.  But the important thing to remember is to mention up-front if the Veteran will not be able to attend closing.  Our loan officers will ask at application if the Veteran will attend closing too.  Generally, the Alive and Well certification process looks like this.

  1. Veteran first mentions unavailability
  2. POA requirements are discussed
  3. Contact information for Veteran provided – Veteran phone number and MILITARY email
  4. VA Alive and Well Statement performed

So the Veteran’s contact information for the statement is important.  Also, the actual verification is performed on the day of closing.  Within our company, the closer will make the contact with the Veteran on closing day to meet this VA requirement.

VA Alive and Well Statement Requirement

VA guidelines are very specific in this area and the requirement is stated in VA pamphlet, Chapter 9, Section 7.  The following is the VA guideline to be followed.

“The lender must always verify that the Veteran is alive at the time of the loan closing, whether or not the Veteran is still in the military.  We only require an Alive and Well certification from a Veteran when a POA is being used.  This is regardless of whether they are in the military or not.  An Alive and Well statement is not necessary for a Veteran’s spouse, if the Veteran is signing the loan documents with a power of attorney as attorney-in-fact for the spouse.”

VA Alive and Well Process for Non-Active Duty Veterans That Cannot Attend Closing

Although this circumstance happens more often with active duty, it may also happen with Veterans outside the service.  For instance, we just had a Veteran who must attend a required employment training.  Therefore, the Veteran could not attend closing during this out of town training.  In this case, we follow a similar process with two revisions.

  1. Veteran first mentions unavailability
  2. POA requirements are discussed
  3. Contact information for Veteran provided – Veteran phone number or work email
  4. Signed letter by Veteran explaining reason for POA
  5. VA Alive and Well Statement performed

Did you catch it?  The first difference includes a signed letter of explanation from the Veteran for missing the closing.  Additionally, the Veteran’s work email may be used for verifying the Veteran is “Alive and Well”.  So not a personal email like yahoo or gmail.

Although a VA loan doesn’t require a down payment and has such great terms, we feel education is key.  We are not just an online company or call center type lender.  Conversely, your loan officer thoroughly discusses your loan options and goals so that you are a knowledgeable and happy buyer.  Learn more about the VA Home Loan Process for Active Duty Military.

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Author: Russell Smith

Team Move OVM Financial loan officer success is Russell’s primary focus. He provides the tools and techniques he used as a top producing loan officer. Additionally he offers the Team Move OVM Financial Agent Training Program. Sharing is so important to Russell so he works diligently to be a resource to loan originators and Realtors.