Powers of attorney are frequently used within the legal field. If you are granting a power of attorney you are called the grantor or principal. As the grantor you empower an agent or attorney-in-fact. This individual could act on your behalf in a legally binding manner.
Creating a Power of Attorney
Any adult who is of sound mind can technically create a power of attorney. However, we are talking about a legally binding document. The wise course of action would be to retain a licensed lawyer to actually construct the power of attorney.
Durable Powers of Attorney
In the field of estate planning durable powers of attorney are used to account for the possibility of incapacity late in life. A durable power of attorney remains effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated.
You could use a durable power of attorney to prevent guardianship proceedings. Interested parties could petition the state to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
When you empower your own hand-picked agent to act on your behalf through the execution of a durable power of attorney, there is no need for a guardianship hearing.
How About Generic Fill-In-The-Blanks Documents?
There are websites on the Internet that sell do-it-yourself legal documents, and they sell powers of attorney. It is perfectly legal to fill in the banks and create your own document.
However, a durable power of attorney is a very specific type of legally binding device, and it serves an important purpose. In addition to this, a durable power of attorney should be a part of a broader estate plan that includes an incapacity component.
If you start putting together an estate plan piecemeal using generic documents that you download off the Internet, are you sure that you are doing well by your family? Isn’t the matter of estate planning something that should be taken quite seriously?
Back in 2012 Consumer Reports advised against do-it-yourself estate planning after engaging legal experts to examine last wills that were created using downloads that can be found on the Internet.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Legally speaking, you can create your own power of attorney using online resources, but it may not be advisable.
Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you decide that you would like to discuss your incapacity plan with a licensed estate planning attorney, our firm would be glad to assist you. We offer free consultations, and you can request an appointment through this website.
At the consultation we will listen carefully as you explain your objectives, answer all of your questions, and make the appropriate recommendations. You can ultimately work with us to create an incapacity plan that includes a properly constructed durable power of attorney if this is your choice.