Between do it yourselfism and the Internet, many people think they can manage the intricacies of the legal practice such as wills and trusts, on their own without hiring a lawyer. This practice is NOT recommended for many reasons. Attorneys have begun to adapt to the many divergent technologies that are disrupting their profession, from the availability of documents online and sites like Legal Zoom to the improvement of ultra high speed wifi and ultra high definition video for videoconferences. The changes are subtle but noticeable and impacting law offices in all areas of practice.

Elder Care Attorney Mark Shalloway

For example in elder law, and wills and trusts, attorneys like G. Mark Shalloway are discovering that many clients come in with some erroneous preconceptions about their legal needs. This is particularly true in the case of the durable power of attorney, a very common legal need in communities with an aging population like South Florida. Mr. Shalloway articulates the risks involved in doing your own legal paperwork without the oversight of an attorney:

“When it comes to the transfer of estates and managing someone’s care with the durable power of attorney it is always wise to seek legal counsel. We have seen many disputes go to litigation in families because of misconceptions about who has the right to manage care and finances for an elder loved one. If you love someone enough to care for them you owe it to him/her to ensure all your legal paperwork is in order. Only an attorney can do this for you.” 

The Durable Power of Attorney

The Durable Power of Attorney is a crucial component of elder care and one of the most important documents anyone will ever sign. In effect, when a loved one is incapacitated or unable to perform basic mental tasks, it allows for decisions to be made concerning finances and medical care by another individual designed as “power of attorney.” Usually a power of attorney is terminated when a person becomes incapacitated. But with the Durable Power of Attorney, the right to oversee the care and needs of another remains in tact.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

Downloading a document and having a notary sign it is not enough to ensure the accurate and thorough legal requirements necessary for the proper execution of the Durable Power of Attorney. It is highly recommended by attorneys that clients and patients always seek legal counsel to ensure their needs are met in concert with the full legality of a document behind them.