Power of Attorney
Making sure that your financial documents are taken care of if you become mentally unable or take an extended vacation is something that is often overlooked. By granting Power of Attorney, you can allow a person of your choosing the power to sign documents and make financial decisions on your behalf. This is also helpful in avoiding the expense of having a court appoint a guardian to handle your affairs in the event of incompetence or disability.
Do You Need an Attorney for Power of Attorney?
While executing a Power of Attorney does not require lawyer, it is important to customize the powers you will be granting your agent to your particular needs. It is also important that the person you make your agent understands their fiduciary and legal obligations to you and that the Power of Attorney meets all legal requirements. While the fees for executing Power of Attorney with a lawyer can be modest compared to other legal services, completing the process online can give you the same results including custom-tailored powers, from the comfort of your own home or office.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Beware the Power
A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument that is used to delegate legal authority to another. The person who signs (executes) a Power of Attorney is called the Principal. The power of Attorney gives legal authority to another person (called an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact) to make property, financial and other legal decisions for the Principal. A Principal can give an Agent broad legal authority, or very limited authority.
Power of Attorney can be abused, and dishonest Agents have used Powers of Attorney to transfer the Principal's assets to themselves and others. Also there is no official or government monitoring of Agents acting under Power of Attorney. That is the responsibility of the Principal. That is why it is so important to appoint an Agent who is completely trustworthy, and to require the Agent to provide complete and periodic accountings to you or to a third party. Remember, signing a Power of Attorney that grants broad authority to an Agent is very much like signing a blank check.
You may appoint multiple Agents. If you appoint two or more Agents, you must decide whether they must act together in making decisions involving your affairs, or whether each can act separately. You may continue to make legal and financial decisions for yourself even once Power of Attorney is executed. As long as you have the legal capacity to make decisions, you can direct your Agent to do only those things that you want done. You are not required to file a Power of Attorney in a government office unless the Power of Attorney is used in a real estate transaction. In that case, it must be filed in the County Clerk 's office and the Power of Attorney is a public record open to inspection by the public. You may also revoke your Power of Attorney at any time.
Costs to Consider
Online Power of Attorney services can cost from $8 for do-it-yourself forms to $35 for a package that includes customization and complete review of your documents. The same basic services from an attorney can cost upwards of $300.
How Long Will This Take?
You can expect to spend 30 minutes or more filling out forms for a Power of Attorney online. Most services will allow you save your work and come back later so all the information does not have to be inputted in one sitting. Most Power of Attorney services can be completed within 48 hours and sent to you via e-mail, overnight mail or first class mail.
Power of Attorney Fast, Easy and Smart
Most companies that offer full Power of Attorney services online provide their clients with a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their services, available customer service and legal document reviewers that examine your information for completeness and other common errors. Just as the powers of each Power of Attorney are unique, the diversity of services offered by online companies is immense. For a complete listing of reviewed sites that offer Power of Attorney services online and how they compare as far as ease of use, price, specific services offered and customer service please see below.