In our do-it-yourself generation, I get this question all the time. If I can install my own cabinets and lay my own tile, why can’t I prepare my own Power of Attorney documentation? Question number one is almost always followed by question number two: “Why do I need you?”
Well, you don’t. Go right ahead and pick up that legal document the next time you are at Staples, adding it to your cart full of pens, paper clips and post-it notes. Another suggestion ─ if you need your gall bladder removed you can also visit Amazon.com . There, you can purchase a surgical scalpel, blade included, for only $7.65, plus shipping. Bandages are extra.
Powers of Attorney and other legal documents are nothing more than tools and supplies, albeit legal ones. But you want to make sure that they are used the right way. Otherwise, you might just be giving your estate, your finances, and your family an unintended lobotomy.
This generic document is not going to do what you need it to do in a pinch. And by the time it’s a pinch, it’s too late. You’re already incapacitated and someone has had to step in. It’s the worst time in the world to find out that the language in the office supply or internet version isn’t what the bank needs to allow the people you want to have access to certain types of accounts.
This can be a big problem, particularly in North Carolina where there has been a lot of case law around decisions that there must be very specific language allowing the Power of Attorney to do something. If it is not written into the document, they can’t do it!
So, really, if you want more information on how to get things done the right way, including powers of attorney, trusts and other estate planning needs, then please go ahead and give our office a call. We have a caring and friendly staff who are knowledgeable and ready to help.