We all try our hardest to be ready for anything and look after our loved ones. However, unexpected events, such as car accidents or illnesses, can leave us unable to care for ourselves or manage our affairs. A Power of Attorney can help in these situations.
In the article below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how to get a Power of Attorney:
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney , or POA, is a legal document that lets you grant another person legal permission to make decisions on your behalf. This person is called your agent or proxy. POAs generally go into effect when a person is no longer to make decisions independently.
There are several different types of Powers of Attorney, including:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Non-durable Power of Attorney
- Springing Power of Attorney
- General Power of Attorney
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
POAs are powerful documents that authorize someone to make important decisions about your family, finances, and healthcare, even when you can’t make them consciously. Select an agent that you trust implicitly.
How To Get a Power of Attorney – Step by Step
The easiest way to get Power of Attorney is by speaking with a power of attorney lawyer . They possess a strong command of local laws, so they’ll offer the most efficient method of getting them. However, the only way to get Power of Attorney is by being named in the document or through a formal court order.
If you’re more of a “do-it-yourself” person, then you’ll find the following steps below helpful on how to get Power of Attorney:
Step 1. Name Your Agent or Proxy
Your agent or proxy is the person in charge of making decisions if you can’t. Here are several crucial things to think about when making your selection:
- Should you name more than one person?
- Do you agree with this person’s reasoning abilities?
- Are they capable of making decisions in your best interest?
- Would you implicitly trust this person with your life?
- Is this person able to make decisions while under emotional pressure?
Most people name their spouse as the agent or proxy. However, it’s also common to name adult-aged children or parents. Whomever you choose, ensure you can trust them to act on your behalf.
Step 2. Schedule a Meeting a Family Law or Probate Attorney
Find a family lawyer or probate lawyer to help you through the process. They differ from other types of lawyers in that they focus on elder, estate planning, and probate law. An experienced legal professional can offer valuable advice and assist you with preparing any required documents.
Hire someone that focuses on empathy, understanding, and value. Your lawyer will work with you and your family to confront vital legal issues and explain laws that affect your decisions and their implications.
Documents that support a Power of Attorney Include:
Power of Attorney
The main document is what gives legal authorization to make decisions on your behalf. It sets out the basic legal framework for transferring authority. Your POA will name the agent or proxy, events that trigger the POA, and other relevant details.
Physician’s directives are instructions that you leave for your medical provider. They can offer specific information about handling specific healthcare events and treatments you’re willing to accept.
Mental health declarations
This directive gives someone the authority to make mental health decisions. It’s wise to have this addition to your POA if you’ve endured severe mental health conditions.
Hospitals can’t release your medical information without a signed HIPAA authorization. Sign a blank HIPAA authorization and attach it to your POA so that your agent or proxy has it available.
If you don’t want to stay on life support, a DNR can communicate this wish. You can also specify the situations in which you would like to remain on life support as well.
Disposition of Remains Instructions
Finally, you can tell your medical team, family, and agent your preferred disposition of remains. For example, you can express if you’d like to donate your organs to science, receive a funeral, or have a burial or cremation.
Step 3. Finalize and Sign Your Documents
Once you draft your POA, it’s time to sign and notarize it. It’s essential to print and sign your document since they’re harder to challenge. Plus, you’ll also want to bring a physical copy to witness signings and notarizations.
Step 4. Distribute Signed Copies to Relevant People
Send your documents to your doctors after they’ve been printed and signed so they can be kept on file. Deliver copies of the documents to your agent or proxy, so they can provide them to third parties as needed. You can also choose to keep these documents private and share their existence with your spouse and children.
Step 5. Update Your Documents As Necessary
If your situation changes, get your POA updated as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong if you have a change of heart on any of your directives. However, you’ll want to remedy them immediately.
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve taken care of everything. You will be able to live your life without fear of what will happen if you experience unexpected medical complications, hospitalization, or any other kind of incapacitation.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Power of Attorney?
It can cost between $250 and $750 to get a Power of Attorney. However, there are also outliers of these prices, especially when you work with lawyers online . You can schedule your initial consultation with a lawyer to determine how much they’ll charge before hiring them.
A Power of Attorney cost generally includes:
- Initial consultations
- First draft document production
- Feedback meetings
- Document finalization
- Formal signing instructions
- Witness signatures
While a POA is an essential document, there are others to include in your portfolio. You can lower your power of attorney costs by purchasing probate or estate planning packages. Other estate planning documents include living wills, pour-over wills, and revocable living trusts.
You’ll also need to get your document notarized. Most banks, city halls, and colleges offer these services for free or for a nominal fee.
Can I Do Power of Attorney Myself?
You cannot do a Power of Attorney yourself. Technically, you can write and sign the document alone.
However, you’ll still need a proxy and witness signatures. If you don’t have the last component, you generally don’t have a valid Power of Attorney.
Additionally, you’ll have greater reassurance if you work with a legal professional. There’s no fear of making a mistake or inadvertent error. Essentially, you’re buying peace of mind for the long term.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Give Someone Power of Attorney?
You don’t need a lawyer to give someone Power of Attorney. However, you may want to consult with one anyway.
Estate planning and probate laws are complicated in every state. Further, some counties and cities impose further terms and conditions on Powers of Attorney.
Speak with family lawyers in your state to help you draft Powers of Attorney and other necessary estate planning documents. This strategy ensures you meet your goals while remaining compliant.
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