There are many do-it-yourself power of attorney forms available; however, it is a good idea to have an attorney draft the form for you. There are many issues to consider and one size does not fit all.
The internet has become an unprecedented tool for legal research and empowerment. For example, I write here to advance public awareness of estate planning law through the power of the internet. Nevertheless, the improper application of legal tools or worse, using a ‘one size fits all’ approach to solve a complex set of circumstances can lead to disaster.
Beware of the simple estate planning tools you find online, as confirmed in an Elder Law Answers post. Off-the-shelf and stock power of attorney forms not only can be ineffective, but they also can prove a liability and a detriment to your plans. Consumers who used such forms that purported to cover every conceivable situation found out after it was too late to remedy the situation that not only were they not ‘the end all be all’ they promised to be but in some cases were not even legal; the document failed to satisfy the statutory substance or format required by your state.
Moreover, anyone who has had an encounter of the first kind with any aspect of a bureaucratic system (you’ve finished your taxes, right?) knows that life is much more complicated that we first thought; life does not lend itself well to a standard instruction manual.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference: Elder Law Answers (February 2012) “Why Not Just Use an Off-the-Shelf Power of Attorney Form?”