People often wonder: do you need a lawyer to get a Power of Attorney? And the short answer is no, you do not need to hire an attorney to get a POA. But truth be told, there’s more to it than just a simple yes or no answer.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Power of Attorney, whether or not you need an attorney to establish one, and what the process is to get one in the first place!
How to Get Power of Attorney Without a Lawyer
Establishing Power of Attorney is relatively simple. Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants someone you trust the authority to act on your behalf. You can grant them very broad authority to make any kind of financial or medical decisions. Or, you can grant them very limited, specific authority to act only during a certain transaction or time period.
Either way, you can go through the process and legally appoint a POA with just a few pieces of paperwork and signatures. Then you can rest easy, knowing that you have selected a trustworthy person in your life to handle situations with your best interest at heart.
You can easily find an online template or use an online estate planning service to set up your POA. If you go this route, be sure that the service or template you’re planning to use is state-specific, so the POA will be in line with your state guidelines and requirements. For example, it’s important to know if your state requires witnesses and/or if it must be notarized.
The single most important part of establishing a POA is ensuring that when the document is created, you (the Principal) are totally of sound mind, with sufficient mental awareness and capacity.
Benefits of using a lawyer to get Power of Attorney
While it’s true that most often, you don’t need a lawyer to implement a Power of Attorney, the reality is, sometimes you may just want one for your own peace of mind.
Just like with almost every other part of estate planning, individual situations are rarely the exact same. If you have an uber-complicated scenario, you may actually benefit from having expert legal advice.
Writing any sort of legal document can be intimidating - and if you’re concerned or feeling anxious about the possibility of “getting it wrong,” you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you craft your POA.
Other questions about obtaining Power of Attorney
POA is a powerful tool, so it makes sense that many people have questions about how to set one up. Let’s look at a few common, specific questions that tend to come up as people work toward obtaining POA, both with & without consent.
Can you obtain Power of Attorney without consent?
If you’re obtaining Power of Attorney without consent (meaning you’re attempting to gain POA over someone who’s already incapacitated), you may be disappointed to learn that you aren’t going to be able to do so. In order to name someone as an Agent (POA), the Principal (the person who’s granting the POA) must have full mental capacity. But all hope is not lost.
You can go about this another way - by asking a court to appoint you as guardian (also known as conservator). The first place you would want to start this process is at the County Probate Court Clerk’s Office. At the very least, they will be able to offer you advice about how to begin conservatorship proceedings.
Does a Power of Attorney have to be filed with the court?
Most often, Power of Attorney does not have to be filed with the courts. That said, if an Agent is attempting to manage property, he or she may be required to file any documents with the County Clerk or similar office.
How long does Power of Attorney last?
Wondering “when does a Power of Attorney expire?” Power of Attorney lasts until the Principal terminates it (which can be at any time), passes away or, (unless you have what’s known as a Durable POA), when he or she becomes incapacitated.
Getting a Power of Attorney can be a smart move. You can do it to ensure your interests are protected, or so that you have peace of mind during time periods where you can’t make a decision.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.