If you are at least 18 years old and you have not created a durable power of attorney, not only are you placing your future in jeopardy, you may also be subjecting your loved ones to the costly and time consuming guardianship process. But creating a durable power of attorney needs to be done correctly; if not, it could lead to some big problems later on. The best way to avoid such problems is by hiring an attorney instead of relying upon a do-it-yourself kit or website form.
How big might these problems be? Your power of attorney may be contested by a family member who disagrees with the decision of the person holding the power, or by a financial institution. Selling your property may be delayed, resulting in increased cost and expense. In either of these situations litigation may be necessary, adding to the time and cost incurred from using an inappropriately drafted power of attorney.
And what of those situations where the incorrect power of attorney is used? Would a 45 year old person of sound mind and body want to give someone power over their finances through the grant of a financial power of attorney? That is unlikely, but it may be appropriate for someone in their seventies or eighties. In short, you need to consult an attorney to draft the document(s) for you, not rely upon a do-it-yourself document found on the Internet.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.