How long should it take a lawyer to make up a new will, a Power of Attorney directive, and a health care proxy for my mother?

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This past March, I took my Mother to a Lawyer (he's related to us) to make out a new Will, make me her Durable Power of Attorney and make a Health Care Directive. How long should this usually take to do? I've called him a few times and I got the feeling that I was bothering him. I haven't said anything to my Mother because I don't want to upset her. Any suggestions on what I should do next?

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Having been an estate planning and elder law attorney for 25 years, and having drafted hundreds of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney for my clients, I would say that a reasonable time for an attorney to complete all these documents would be a few weeks at most. The attorney should advise you at the first meeting how long it will be to complete everything; if things are delayed for some reason, the attorney should be calling YOU to explain why! I don't like the sound of how things are going with this attorney and agree with the others that you may want to try to move on. Unfortunately, if the lawyer has already spent time on your case, he may feel justified in sending you a bill for the time spent to date. You will have to review your agreement with the attorney (if any). Sometimes telling the attorney that you are upset and are considering filing a complaint with the local legal ethics board will (a) light a fire under the attorney or (b) convince the attorney to let you move on and not bill you.

I would not recommend free or online services if you are doing any elder law-type planning as well as a simple will, etc. The online or office supply forms omit all the special provisions you need in such cases and are not worth the small savings you get by avoiding the attorney. In general this rule applies regarding legal fees: "pay me now or pay me later" (i.e., you'll wind up needing an attorney to straighten things out later if you cheap out with store-bought forms now).
GET A NEW ATTORNEY. Sorry to have shouted that. I am so sick of these guys...they do relatively nothing then bill you big time for it. Related or not, he should not be treating you as though you are "bothering" him. These documents are just standard "fill in the blank" forms and should not take 5 months to complete.
I do not know how complex your Mom's assets are, but if they are not, you can create your own documents online. I have had personal experience with Legal Zoom and Legacy Writers - both were great. They have up to date information about your state's guidelines and have people you can call to ask questions. Sometimes doctor's offices have forms for your state's Health Care Directive.
Personally, I would not want a relative such as yours knowing my Mom's personal business. Tell him that you will be dropping by to pick up your Mom's information because it sounds like his "plate is full." Then do it.
Just tell your Mom that you wanted an attorney who specializes in elder issues and is more knowledgeable about this area.
Really, if he wants to hear about truly "busy" people, have him come to this forum!!
Hello. I just wanted to say that I work with the aging population. I recently worked with a client to get this done and it was finished within one week and there was even some complicated issues with this client involving a trust. I think I might find a new lawyer and search for one that specializes in elder law.
I agree with both posts above. Her doctor should have copies of Health Care Directives, if not stop by a local Assisted Living Facility or Rehab center - they have these forms also and would happy to give you a copy (it's great for their business -they never know if you might need them down the line so they can be very accommodating). A will - if not too many complications can be done with information online as Lilliput (first post) states. I looked up POA's and Durable POAs online and actually took sections of many and made one up for my mom - I put in everything possible even if I didn't know whether she would need it - better to be safe than sorry - had her sign it in front of a notary and we were set to go. When I needed to use them, every facility was impressed with my "lawyer" (so they thought) because I made sure the notary and mom initialed each page and numbered the pages 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc. They thought my "lawyer" was VERY efficient. YES, you definitely need a new attorney (if you want to go that route) - it shouldn't take that long at all, and as the other post said and I agree - you shouldn't have any relative or friend helping you with these papers - it's none of their business. And go back and get the papers from the original lawyer. Good luck.
I did all the same as you are wanting done. It took only a day. Mom used this attorney before for her original will, POA and such. When it was time to change we called the office and told them what was to be changed. We went next day, attorney talked to mom privately to make sure thats what she wanted to do. And that was that is was done. Left office that day with certified copies.
Since it was an update mom paid around $75.00 for all. If this attorney is dragging it out saying its complicated timely paperwork and then charge you a small fortune. THEY ARE RIPPING YOU OFF!!!!!! Moms paperwork really looks no different then what I seen on most DIY legal sites. Its a basic template and just fill in the blanks.
I agree with all the other posts. Get a new attorney. Call around and ask just how long it would take to get these documents done. Months are just an excuse to soak more money!!!!!!!! Remember an Attorney WORKS FOR YOU!! YOU HIRED THEM AND YOU CAN FIRE THEM!!!!!!!!
Good luck!!
Perhaps a relative who might be doing you a favor is not the best choice. A simple will, health proxy and POA should be ready in days. An elder lawyer is a good choice because he/she will be able to guide you if nursing care, medicaid, elderly rights, etc issues come up later. Good luck.
Get an attorney who does elder law and it should only take days.
Stay away from family. You know the old saying "the cobbler's children have no shoes". My brother in law was executor of my mother in law's will. He is a CPA with his own firm in Florida. It took forever! Worked on it when he had time. Too much foot draggery. It was finally completed and no one is angry (now). With your family you get put on the back burner. Find a good elder lawyer. :)
These are all standard forms done by the paralegals on staff which also serve as the witnesses. No more than 1 week. Agree with all, you need a new attorney, find an elder care specialist - you many never need that level of expertise but if you do there is someone you can refer to who already has your history.

IMHO, at a minimum you need to do:
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (a Financial Power of Attorney)
• Medical Power of Attorney
• Living Will /Advance Directives
• Declaration of Guardian in Event of Incapacity
• HIPAA Waiver
Good luck.
Not much more to add but to say get it done Sooner rather then Later, you never know when you are going to need the items. I like Lili's idea about picking up the current documents and talking them someplace else. Their is a way of being polite and saving "face" with the family member that is trying to help. Sooner rather then Later..!!!!
Blessings,
Bridget

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