Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Durable Power of Attorney?
Do I need a lawyer to get a durable power of attorney?
No. But it’s probably a good idea.
You can find good durable power of attorney forms online and even in some stationery stores. Many states have perfectly good statutory forms.
But while the basic form of durable power of attorney may be relatively standard, an attorney can help you answer the following questions:
- Who should you appoint?
- Should you appoint more than one person?
- If so, should they be able to act independently or should you require that they both sign every check?
- How many originals do you need?
- Where should you store them?
- Should the document only take effect when you become incapacitated?
- If so, how should that incapacity be determined?
- Should your attorney-in-fact be able to make gifts to others on your behalf?
- Should she be able to make gifts to herself?
- Should there be any limitations on the size of such gifts?
- Do you want your attorney-in-fact to create a trust for you?
- Or to amend an existing trust?
- What happens if you move to another state?
- Do you want your attorney-in-fact or someone else to serve as your guardian or conservator if that ever becomes necessary?
Since the answers to these questions aren’t the same for everyone, it can help to consult with an attorney who has experience with hundreds or thousands of clients and who will know any state nuances that are relevant. Estate planning attorneys generally prepare durable powers of attorney for their clients as part of their estate planning package of documents. If all you want is a durable power of attorney, it may be an expensive proposition for a single document. In that case, using a form you find online is far superior to having no durable power of attorney at all, even if you will have to answer the questions listed above for yourself.
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