St. Louis Powers of Attorney Lawyer
When it comes to estate planning, a power of attorney is an important document to consider. It allows you to name someone to make decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself. In St. Louis, there are several options for obtaining a power of attorney, and working with an experienced estate planning lawyer can help protect your interests.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is an official legal document in which you, the “principal,” appoint someone else, the “agent,” to make decisions for you. There are commonly three main types of power of attorney:
- A durable power of attorney. This type of power of attorney stays effective, even if you are incapacitated in the future.
- Springing power of attorney. This type of power of attorney only takes effect if you are incapacitated in the future.
- Limited power of attorney. This type of power of attorney only gives your agent the authority to make specific decisions for you.
How Much Does It Cost to Obtain a Power of Attorney in Missouri?
The cost of obtaining a power of attorney will depend on a variety of factors, including the complexity of your situation and the services provided by the lawyer or firm handling your case. You can generally expect to pay several hundred dollars for a power of attorney. The cost of not having a power of attorney in place can be significantly higher, as your family may need to go to court to seek guardianship or conservatorship if you are incapacitated in the future.
Does Power of Attorney Need to Be Notarized in Missouri?
Yes, a power of attorney must be notarized to be legally valid. This means you need to have your power of attorney document signed in the presence of a notary public, who will then affix their official seal to the document.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Power of Attorney?
While it is not strictly necessary to have a lawyer to advance a power of attorney, it is highly recommended. An experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of creating one and ensure the document is properly drafted and executed. They can also help you understand the potential consequences of the choices available.
Why Do You Need a Power of Attorney?
- To ensure that your wishes are carried out. A power of attorney enables you to appoint someone in your personal or professional network you trust to make influential decisions for you if the day comes when you are unable to do so yourself. This can be particularly important if you are concerned about what might happen if you are incapacitated in the future and are unable to make your own decisions.
- To avoid the need for guardianship or conservatorship. Without a power of attorney in place, if you are incapacitated in the future, your family may need to go to court to seek guardianship or conservatorship. This can be time-consuming and expensive, and it may not result in the appointment of the person you would have chosen to make decisions for you. A power of attorney allows you to avoid this process and make choices about who will act as your agent.
- To save time and money. Having a power of attorney can save your loved ones time and money if you are incapacitated in the future. With a power of attorney, they may be able to go through the legal process of seeking a guardianship or conservatorship, which can be both time-consuming and costly. With a power of attorney, they can simply refer to the document and follow your instructions without requiring additional legal proceedings.
- To protect your assets. A power of attorney can also protect your assets if you are incapacitated in the future. For example, you can use a durable power of attorney to designate someone to manage your financial affairs and protect your assets.
- To make health care decisions. In addition to financial powers of attorney, you can also name someone to make health care decisions for you through a health care power of attorney. This can be particularly important if you are concerned about what might happen if you cannot make your own health care decisions.
What to Consider When Choosing a Power of Attorney
When choosing a power of attorney, there are several factors to consider:
- Trustworthiness. Choosing a trustworthy agent who will act in your best interests is important. This may be a family member, friend, or professional such as a lawyer or financial planner.
- Ability to handle responsibilities. Your agent will be responsible for making important decisions for you, so it is important to choose someone who is capable of handling these responsibilities.
- Compatibility with your values. Your agent should share your values and be willing to follow your wishes.
- Geographical proximity. If your agent lives far away, it may be more difficult for them to handle the responsibilities of being your power of attorney.
- Communication skills. Your agent needs to have good communication skills, as they will need to communicate with your health care providers, financial institutions, and other parties for you.
- Decision-making ability. Your agent will be responsible for making important decisions for you, so it is vital to choose someone who is capable of making sound decisions.
- Relationship with you. It is important to choose an agent with whom you have a good relationship and who is willing to follow your wishes. This may be a family member, friend, or professional such as a lawyer or financial planner.
It is also a good idea to discuss your choice with your potential agent to ensure that they are willing and able to take on the responsibilities of being your power of attorney. Have open and honest communication with your agent to ensure they understand your wishes and are prepared to act in your best interests.
Working With an Estate Planning Lawyer
If you are considering creating a power of attorney or have other estate planning needs, it is important to work with an experienced estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer can help you understand your options and advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation. They can also help ensure that your documents are properly drafted and executed, which is critical to ensuring that your wishes are met.
At Stange Law Firm, our team of experienced estate planning attorneys is dedicated to helping clients in the St. Louis area protect their assets and ensure that their wishes are carried out. Contact us today to schedule an official consultation and learn more about how we can help with your estate planning needs.
Greene County, St. Louis Office : 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806