By Ben A. Neiburger, Attorney, Generation Law

The prevalence of do-it-yourself legal web kits has resulted in an increase in business for real lawyers – including myself! And while it’s good for my bottom line, it’s terrible for the people who come into my office, embarrassed and terrified by the consequences of their actions.

I am in this field to help people negotiate the law to ensure they are prepared for and protected as they move toward their twilight years.

Helping people after they’ve made some serious legal missteps is frustrating because proper advice prevents significant emotional, financial and legal distress occurring during a significant life event.

Consider this scenario. A client walked in one day with a power-of-attorney in hand looking to have it put into effect. Her husband had become disabled and she needed to do some banking and sell the house. The problem is that her bank would not accept the document. As I looked at her $15.99 web solution power of attorney form it was easy to see why. There was a section in it that made clear that the power of attorney is not effective after someone becomes disabled or incapacitated. The irony was clear. One of the major reasons to obtain a power of attorney is to handle someone’s affairs if they become disabled or incapacitated.

Of course the only option at this point was to do a guardianship, a much more expensive process that cost them valuable time as well. Her husband was in a nursing home and the need for funds to pay for that was very pressing.

So about that $15.99 power of attorney form…

It was a waste of sixteen dollars, and of course, cost much more in legal fees – not to mention interest costs on the late nursing home payments.

Doing it yourself has become a popular mantra for many aspects of modern life. And for good reason. There are many solutions to life issues that can be easily handled without professional intervention.

Legal matters are not one of them.

Look up any issue online and learn as much as you can. But when it comes time  to act, contact a lawyer. If that sounds expensive, consider the tale of my client.

Please get in touch if you need to discuss powers of attorney, wills or estate matters.


Updated 3-18-2024
Originally published 9-6-2016