Be Careful When Making Your Own Power of Attorney

Jan 11, 2013

Because powers of attorney are such useful documents, a lot of people try to create their own. Though there is no law that requires you to hire a lawyer to make a power of attorney or any other estate planning document, it would always be wise of you to have an attorney review any documents that you choose to create yourself. This is also true of any documents you find online or in do-it-yourself legal guides. Here’s why.


People often create powers of attorney for specific purposes. While you may know what you want, stating it in a way that will be unambiguous should a court ever have to try to determine what you mean is sometimes a bit of an art form. If you don’t have any background in the law you may not be able to craft a document that adequately captures your purposes and desires in a way that a court will understand.


While powers of attorney are very powerful documents, the best documents are often the simplest ones. People who do not have a background in the law will often try to include clauses, amendments, or other language in an attempt to make the documents sound more legalistic. Experienced attorneys will only include such language when absolutely necessary and will otherwise try to make the document as simple as possible. This not only allows you to better understand what the document does, but will make it easier to use and interpret.

Cheryl K. David, Estate Planning Attorney

Cheryl David is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Baltimore School of Law, and the prestigious Trial Lawyer’s College presided over by Gerry Spence. A former Administrative Judge, Cheryl is certified as an Estate Planning Law Specialist by the ABA accredited Estate Law Specialists Board, Inc. She is also a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Medicaid Practice Systems and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

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