Minnesota Power of Attorney

Always Let Your Minnesota Lawyer Draft Your Power of Attorney

Although many people think it’s fairly simple to sometimes act as their own attorney, they often discover that doing so can cause far more headaches than its worth. This is especially true when it comes to creating your own Minnesota power of attorney (as opposed to a healthcare or medical power of attorney).

If you require any convincing on this topic, be sure to read attorney Will Denham’s article, Three Problems with Every Legal Zoom Form.” Stated simply, purchasing a generic form instead of sharing all of your special concerns about your personal finances (and relatives) with your private lawyer may wind up costing huge attorney fees later on when forced to untangle any problems you may accidentally set in motion.

How is this possible? Here are some of the problems that can arise when you purchase a generic power of attorney form sold online or in an office supply store.

Aren’t All General Powers of Attorney the Same?  Definitely Not!

  • What happens if you create a short-term power of attorney that becomes ineffective when you become incapacitated? What the public often misunderstands is that a regular or general power of attorney only allows the person you appoint to act for you when you yourself could still handle the matter on your own if you chose to do so. If you become incapacitated, your appointed person cannot simply step in and act for you. Fortunately, your Minnesota estate planning lawyer can explain to you when it’s best to just create a Durable Power of Attorney. This type of “power of attorney” can expressly give the appointed person the right to act on your behalf – even if and when you do become incapacitated;
  • You should normally avoid creating what the ABA (American Bar Association) calls in one of its books a “reciprocal power of attorney.” These are especially ill-advised if you and your spouse are newly married and haven’t gone through many difficult issues together over a long stretch of time. In its Third Edition of “Guide to Wills and Estates,” the ABA notes that should you and your spouse or partner part ways and “the breakup turns nasty, one partner who is legally entitled to act on the other’s behalf might drain the other’s savings account or squander his or her assets out of spite or greed.” This is far more common that many non-lawyers can imagine;
  • Should you create a “springing general power of attorney?” Probably not – this type of document only becomes effective once the person creating it has been legally certified as incompetent. Problem is – this type of condition may not be permanent – and a doctor may insist on regularly updating his/her pronouncement on the person’s condition. Sticky legal problems can quickly arise – so, just let your private lawyer draft the right power of attorney to fit your current circumstances;
  • When you create any type of general power of attorney online, you deny yourself the chance to confide some of your most critical concerns about those you hope will assume this duty for you. It’s always best to discuss what you know about each person you’d like to name as your general or “durable” power of attorney in the privacy of your lawyer’s office. For example, your lawyer may warn you to avoid naming the sister or brother who filed for bankruptcy or rarely files his/her taxes on time. Likewise, another relative who’s been a neglectful guardian of his/her own children is also a poor candidate.

It’s your Minnesota lawyer’s duty to help you carefully make these types of decisions. Stated differently, a highly effective estate planning attorney can readily call upon his or her strong counseling skills while helping you avoid making poor legal or financial decisions.

As one Minnesota organization puts it, “A lawyer can help you put things in your power of attorney papers that limit the actions of the attorney-in-fact or make them have to show what they do with money and property.” That type of advice or help can prove priceless.

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients.  Call (612) 424-0398.