Do I need an attorney for durable power of attorney? 26 Answers as of July 31, 2013

I am in need of a will and a durable power of attorney for finance and for health. Needs are simple: couple of retirement accounts, no house, not married, two sons split everything, one will be designated on powers of attorney. Do I need an attorney - or will the forms for durable powers of attorney on the Secretary of State's website do? I do plan to have an attorney draw up a will. Also, a local attorney has offered to provide all three for $1250.00, is this reasonable?

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Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
The fee sounds a little high unless you have a complicated situation.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/31/2013
Ronald Main & Associates | Tracian M. Laignel
I believe that 1250 is more than reasonable. Having an attorney draw them up for you is better than "fill in the form" type of documents. You may have special needs that cannot be met by a form document. Additionally, the attorney's documents for you will be more inclusive and most likely work better for your sons than a fill in the blank form.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 7/31/2013
Wood & Smith Legal Services, LLC | Emily Wood Smith
To answer your first question, you do not necessarily need to have an attorney draft your power of attorney document. A power of attorney that follows Alabama Code 26-1A-301 and is properly executed may be adequate for your needs. I did not see a power of attorney form on the Alabama Secretary of State's website, so I don't know if a form on that site will work or not.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/31/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
In Nevada, if you are a senior you may qualify to have these documents produced to you for a voluntary contribution at the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program. Here is a link to their offices.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/31/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
Under your facts, I would say, have the attorney prepare the POA form. It does not sound like you need a Will. My POA forms have both health and financial information in them. I charge $200 for a POA. I also charge $200 for a Will. The fee you were quoted sounds very high, given the limited needs.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/31/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    The price sounds high for the work that needs to be done. I use a POA form developed over the past several years. All I usually have to do is plug in names. Same with wills. I use templates that make drafting quick, painless and inexpensive.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    The secretary of state forms are pretty standard and work unless you have an unusual situation. The attorney's price seem a little high.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    I cannot tell you whether the price you were quoted is reasonable for your area. I can only say that it sounds quite high for my area. You should have an attorney prepare all of the documents. Shop around, you may well do better.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Have an attorney do it all if you are going that direction. It is always advisable. Costs vary greatly so shop around. $1,250, some do a complete estate plan for $895, and some charge $2,000 or more.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Good question. A good estate planning attorney will prepare, a will, trust, durable power of attorney, advance health care directive, general transfer of personal property, the transfer deed of residence into trust with preliminary change of residence required by assessor, and any other supporting documents to carry out your desires, and will advise you over the course of at least three office conferences, with a final instruction letter as to how to change the title and beneficiary of your respective liquid accounts. Do not use forms, as forms are very generic, and may not be tailored to your situation. Pricing for the above at the hourly rate of $300.00, should be between $3k to $4k, if an hourly rate is used; flat fee agreements are fraught with "how fast the work can be prepared for the quoted price, and can lead to mistakes. The old saying still applies "You get what you pay for in life; pay cheap get cheap. The value of your assets appear to be significant from what you describe. Do the right thing by your heirs and do the estate planning with competent estate planning counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    The one on the Secretary of State's website I'm sure complies with the Florida Statutes, just not sure it will fit your particular needs. An attorney will ensure that the POA fits specifically your needs. Reasonable becomes subjective when dealing with attorneys; experience plays a big part in the fees that an attorney charges. So you will have to ask this attorney's experience in this area. If over 20 years then I would say its reasonable. Less than that no its not.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If the attorney is doing the will, the POA will not add a great deal of cost. The attorney will probably have some ideas about particular terms to include in your POA, so the result should be better. Also, most attorneys have been "massaging" their POA forms for years, adding and refining based on their own experience, so a POA by the same person who is doing the rest of your estate plan should be better than a form from the internet.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Legally, no , you don't need an attorney. However, it's a good idea to have one look over your draft to make sure that it doesn't promise more than the law allows and that the appropriate powers are granted. Check with the Secretary of State's office to see if the documents on the website are appropriate for your purposes. I can't speak to the price you've been quoted other than to say it's higher than some would charge for a basic estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    First, there are NO estate planning forms of any kind on the Secretary of State's website. Second, the fee quoted should include all the applicable Powers of Attorney and Living Will, so you can obtain the documents desired that way and you won't save any money at all by attempting to do things yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Yefim Rubinov, Attorney At Law
    Yefim Rubinov, Attorney At Law | Yefim Rubinov
    Its always better to have a lawyer to draw up the paperwork. Whether his fees are reasonable, you may shop around, different lawyers charge differently.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Robert E. Giffin | Robert E. Giffin CPA
    That is not reasonable for the services.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    As long as you are having an attorney draft your will, you should have him/her do the powers of attorney as well. Some only charge $900 for these three documents, but each attorney is different.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Yes, it is reasonable. I would have the attorney do all the documents so they work together properly.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Each attorney sets his/her own rate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Dennis E. Valentine Law Firm
    Dennis E. Valentine Law Firm | Dennis Valentine
    When you hire an attorney, you are paying for his time and advice as well as the documents. Some attorneys charge $300 for most wills and $100 for each power of attorney. And would do all three documents along with advising you as to your options for $500. Many people use forms for the two powers of attorney. However, an experienced attorney can advise you as to your options based upon years of experience dealing with circumstances where a power of attorney was needed. I recommend you use an attorney for the will and show him or her the powers of attorney if you do not want the attorney to prepare the powers of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    It is a generally reasonable cost but I wonder if you really need a will. In the absence of a spouse Michigan law defaults to have your children inherit your estate equally. So do you really need a will? If you plan on doing a simple trust that is okay it can eliminate the need for probate assuming you properly "fund" the trust (e.g. change the ownership of all your assets to the trust). Your retirement accounts should have a Payable on Death feature that allows it to pass without probate and outside of a trust use it Miscellaneous Personal property can be divided informally so what assets do you have that really need to be probated? A car (anything with a formal title) does it all total less than $17K in value? If so there is a simplified probate action that ignore the will anyway. The Michigan forms for a health care declaration and a durable power of attorney can be used but do not forget the required acknowledgment for the POA under a new 2012 Michigan law that sets out what your attorney in fact can do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    I charge around $500 for a complete simple estate plan. You may want a trust to avoid probate. There may be ?other alternatives.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    Everyone needs a will and durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions and financial decisions. You can get the durable power of attorney off of the state's website, however this is bare bones and only deals with decisions when you are in a terminal condition. What happens if you are in an accident and temporarily disabled? An attorney can prepare much more comprehensive documents. The price quoted by the attorney is high so I would recommend that you interview several estate planning attorneys and find one you feel comfortable with as well as having a good price. Please look for an estate planning attorney as this is what they specialize in and this type of attorney will have more options available for your needs.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C. | Arthur Geffen
    The charge is reasonable. What typically happens with DIY legal documents is that the person downloading and using them often make prohibited changes to the statutory documents plus 90% of the time, they are executed incorrectly. $1250 for peace of mind seems reasonable to me.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
    Suggest you talk to an attorney who handles Federal/MD estate planning and Federal/MD taxation matters. Information will need to be assembled and carefully reviewed for a proper analysis and estate distribution plan to be implemented (Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney/Advance Medical Directive). An experienced estate/tax attorney in MD should be able to handle this type of matter and to protect the interests of the client.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The $1,250 is not reasonable. While I do recommend you use an attorney to draft legal documents, there are available forms and software to create these documents. If your needs are simple as you indicate, these alternative means may work for you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/31/2013
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