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It’s a topic that no one likes to think about. But do you know who will make decisions about your property, finances, or medical care if you cannot make them yourself?

Designating someone you trust with power of attorney (POA) is an essential part of estate planning. It can give you peace of mind that your affairs and your assets will be handled in the way that you want. This article will examine the advantages of POA, the costs and steps involved, and how you can easily draft this type of legal document to meet your needs.

Advantages of a POA

The POA gives a designated person, called the agent or attorney-in-fact, the legal authority to act for another person, called the principal. As the principal, you may give your agent broad or limited power to make necessary decisions regarding your finances or medical care.

What are the advantages of this legal designation? The POA is often used during a principal's permanent or temporary disability or illness. It also is used when the principal cannot be present to sign legal documents, such as for a financial transaction.

You can set up your POA to take effect as soon as the legal document is signed. This legal document is called a “durable” POA. Or, you can create a “springing” POA that goes into effect only in the event you become incapacitated.

Most POAs authorize both financial and medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself. However, you can limit your POA to only medical matters or only financial decisions if you choose. Here are a few planned situations that make a POA a wise decision:

  • a planned medical procedure
  • a long-term illness
  • an extended period during which you will be away from work and home and difficult to reach

However, as we have come to fully understand over the course of the pandemic, the unexpected can happen. So, a POA is an important safeguard for you and your family as part of your estate plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Power of Attorney?

When you consider legal procedures, fees and other expenses need to be part of the equation. The good news is that a POA can be affordable.

Although state laws and requirements vary, a POA is legal in every state. Many states require the principal’s signature on the POA form to be notarized. Some states also require that signatures of one or more witnesses also be notarized.

A POA generally falls into one of the following five types:

  • Durable POA – The agent has the same authority as with a General POA, except that if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated, the Durable POA is still in effect.
  • Medical POA – The agent can make medical decisions for the principal, such as approving surgeries or making end-of-life choices.
  • Special or Limited POA – The agent has authority to act for the agent in particular tasks, such as signing a real estate document or cashing a check. Once that task is completed, the Special or Limited POA ends.
  • Springing Durable POA – This DOA goes into effect when a specific event, such as a medical condition or accident, occurs. Some members of the military also use the Springing POA when they are deployed overseas.

Many lawyers charge a set fee to prepare a POA. Fees may vary according to the type of POA, its length, and complexity, but the average cost of a power of attorney is about $300. Some lawyers charge by the hour, with the average hourly rate for a family or probate lawyer typically in the $250 to $350 range.

However, you also may be able to draft some POA forms online at low cost. In fact, your only fees may be for the cost to notarize the signatures, if your state requires notarization.

Is It Necessary to Hire a Lawyer to Draft a POA?

If your financial situation is uncomplicated, it may be unnecessary to hire an attorney to draft your POA documents. A legal document that you draft from an online template may work well in many cases.

However, there are some circumstances when it will be worth your while to have professional legal counsel. Examples include:

  • Complex financial or real estate holdings
  • Family disagreements (particularly siblings or adult children) on financial matters
  • Family disagreement on who should serve as agent

Generally speaking, if you, as principal, want to place specific limitations on your agent’s power, you may need an attorney to tailor the language in the document accordingly.

Advantages of a POA Form

The most significant advantage of using an online template to draft a POA form is its savings – both in terms of time and money.

Your first step is to check your state laws regarding this legal document. Find out if you need to sign the document before a notary or if you need witnesses and their notarized signatures in order to meet your state’s requirements.

Next, after reviewing your situation and the different types of POAs reviewed above, choose the template you need for your situation. In many cases, you can download a state-specific form for the type of POA you need.

Don’t leave the important decisions about your hard-earned assets up in the air. By creating a POA, you will know your financial affairs and your medical decisions will be handled by someone you trust if you cannot make those decisions yourself.

For easy and convenient POA forms you can customize for your estate planning situation at LawDistrict.

Get Your Power of Attorney Form

Helpful Resources:
Fitzpatrick Matrix 2013-2021

It’s a topic that no one likes to think about. But do you know who will make decisions about your property, finances, or medical care if you cannot make them yourself?

Designating someone you trust with power of attorney (POA) is an essential part of estate planning. It can give you peace of mind that your affairs and your assets will be handled in the way that you want. This article will examine the advantages of POA, the costs and steps involved, and how you can easily draft this type of legal document to meet your needs.

Advantages of a POA

The POA gives a designated person, called the agent or attorney-in-fact, the legal authority to act for another person, called the principal. As the principal, you may give your agent broad or limited power to make necessary decisions regarding your finances or medical care.

What are the advantages of this legal designation? The POA is often used during a principal's permanent or temporary disability or illness. It also is used when the principal cannot be present to sign legal documents, such as for a financial transaction.

You can set up your POA to take effect as soon as the legal document is signed. This legal document is called a “durable” POA. Or, you can create a “springing” POA that goes into effect only in the event you become incapacitated.

Most POAs authorize both financial and medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself. However, you can limit your POA to only medical matters or only financial decisions if you choose. Here are a few planned situations that make a POA a wise decision:

  • a planned medical procedure
  • a long-term illness
  • an extended period during which you will be away from work and home and difficult to reach

However, as we have come to fully understand over the course of the pandemic, the unexpected can happen. So, a POA is an important safeguard for you and your family as part of your estate plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Power of Attorney?

When you consider legal procedures, fees and other expenses need to be part of the equation. The good news is that a POA can be affordable.

Although state laws and requirements vary, a POA is legal in every state. Many states require the principal’s signature on the POA form to be notarized. Some states also require that signatures of one or more witnesses also be notarized.

A POA generally falls into one of the following five types:

  • Durable POA – The agent has the same authority as with a General POA, except that if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated, the Durable POA is still in effect.
  • Medical POA – The agent can make medical decisions for the principal, such as approving surgeries or making end-of-life choices.
  • Special or Limited POA – The agent has authority to act for the agent in particular tasks, such as signing a real estate document or cashing a check. Once that task is completed, the Special or Limited POA ends.
  • Springing Durable POA – This DOA goes into effect when a specific event, such as a medical condition or accident, occurs. Some members of the military also use the Springing POA when they are deployed overseas.

Many lawyers charge a set fee to prepare a POA. Fees may vary according to the type of POA, its length, and complexity, but the average cost of a power of attorney is about $300. Some lawyers charge by the hour, with the average hourly rate for a family or probate lawyer typically in the $250 to $350 range.

However, you also may be able to draft some POA forms online at low cost. In fact, your only fees may be for the cost to notarize the signatures, if your state requires notarization.

Is It Necessary to Hire a Lawyer to Draft a POA?

If your financial situation is uncomplicated, it may be unnecessary to hire an attorney to draft your POA documents. A legal document that you draft from an online template may work well in many cases.

However, there are some circumstances when it will be worth your while to have professional legal counsel. Examples include:

  • Complex financial or real estate holdings
  • Family disagreements (particularly siblings or adult children) on financial matters
  • Family disagreement on who should serve as agent

Generally speaking, if you, as principal, want to place specific limitations on your agent’s power, you may need an attorney to tailor the language in the document accordingly.

Advantages of a POA Form

The most significant advantage of using an online template to draft a POA form is its savings – both in terms of time and money.

Your first step is to check your state laws regarding this legal document. Find out if you need to sign the document before a notary or if you need witnesses and their notarized signatures in order to meet your state’s requirements.

Next, after reviewing your situation and the different types of POAs reviewed above, choose the template you need for your situation. In many cases, you can download a state-specific form for the type of POA you need.

Don’t leave the important decisions about your hard-earned assets up in the air. By creating a POA, you will know your financial affairs and your medical decisions will be handled by someone you trust if you cannot make those decisions yourself.

For easy and convenient POA forms you can customize for your estate planning situation at LawDistrict.

Get Your Power of Attorney Form

Helpful Resources:
Fitzpatrick Matrix 2013-2021