Cheap and Free Power of Attorney
Written by Christian Horde, Esq.
A power of attorney is an essential document in Medicaid planning and one should always consult with an experienced elder law attorney before executing such a document. Living in the days of the internet, there is much “free” misinformation that creates problems down the road for clients.
The internet provides equal access to numerous websites that provide free or cheap power of attorney documents. In addition, when a loved one is admitted to a hospital or medial facility, the facility oftentimes will have the elder sign a power of attorney so financial decisions can be made on the elder’s behalf.
The overwhelming majority of these power of attorney documents are ineffective for Medicaid planning because they lack certain necessary provisions and powers.
Recently, a client provided us a copy of her husband’s power of attorney. The document was provided by a hospital and signed by the husband without consulting an attorney. The husband’s power of attorney lacked the necessary language and powers needed to properly plan for Medicaid. The husband now lacked capacity to execute a new power of attorney. At that point, the solution to their problem became much more difficult because a guardianship was required in order to secure Medicaid benefits.
If you have a power of attorney or are considering one, make sure you consult with an experienced elder law attorney. In the long run the attorney’s fee will be far less that the costs associated with a “free” power of attorney.