How much does a power of attorney cost?

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Q: How much does a power of attorney cost?

A: Getting a durable power of attorney for finances, sometimes referred to by the initials, "DPOA" can be at no charge. Most states have the form available online, or it can be obtained through Legal Aid offices, or elder legal services providers.

In some instances, however, the matter is complicated and a lawyer's advice is needed. In those matters there may be a conflict about who should be appointed as the "agent" on the power of attorney form. If there are several siblings, we don't normally recommend putting everyone's name on the document as sharing the role of agent for the aging parent. It can lead to family conflicts.

In your case, your mother wants to appoint you, and as long as she is sufficiently clear in her thinking to understand what she is doing, there is no problem with her doing so. The form gives unlimited control over her money to you, and it is therefore very important that she is aware that you will have the legal authority to decide everything about her finances, including where she will live, who will take care of her, and how her money will be spent if she is unable to speak for herself.

There is sometimes confusion about what the term "power of attorney" means. In this answer, I am referring only to the document that lets your mom give you control over her money.

There is another form, sometimes called "medical power of attorney" or health care directive or living will that is different from the financial power of attorney. That health care directive has nothing directly to do with money decisions. It gives authority to a person to make medical decisions if the elder can't speak for herself. The agent on a health care directive does not have legal authority to decide anything about money.

If your mom is considering appointing you her agent for a durable power of attorney for finances, it might be good to discuss if she also wants you to be her agent for health care decisions, in the event that she is not competent at some point to make those decisions. These are two separate documents, but often are prepared at the same time. The healthcare directive is also free, and is available from your mom's doctor, clinic, or hospital, and is usually free as a downloadable form online as well.

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14 Comments

in my family's situation, my parents set up a POA about 25 yrs ago. I don't know how much it cost then, but it recently it has cost $3k to update (also included rewriting parts of their will and trust). My point is, Over the years you will want to update things as Life happens, so there is probably no "once & done" with POA's.
Another thing to consider, is (in our family) that the POA gets to consult anytime they feel like it, with the family attorney, and that (in our family) has been a point of contention. To the point that my Sis who has the POA is hiding financial matters from the rest of us, and basically is not talking to any of us anymore. However Sis lives several states away and really is not informed about my parents health or needs or wants, that person is me.
So the "cost" of a POA is an ongoing expense, and it comes down to, the "cost" is not just thousands of dollars, but immensely fractured families (if you choose the wrong POA as it appears to be in our family).
To the daughter who her step dad is getting her mom SS why is he getting it? My mom was placed in a nursing home three weeks ago, her husband not my dad ugh it sounds just like your mothers husband. I'm in the process if being her POW.
I bought a durable power of attorney but I think I'm going to contact a lawyer before I fill it out. Any suggestions, my mom is in a nursing home will her dead beat husband get her SS check.