Many people who wish to save money search the Internet for legal forms instead of consulting with an attorney. While this may save money in the short run, it can lead to expensive consequences down the road when that form meets the reality of the legal system.

A serious problem with using old forms is that the law may have changed since someone published the form, making that old form invalid.

The requirements for a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) document, for example, changed in 2012 to require that any agents appointed under the DPOA must sign an acknowledgement of their responsibilities under the document prior to first use.   If that is not done, the DPOA is invalid, and financial institutions and other entities won’t accept it.  If the person who made the DPOA is not available to make a new one for any reason, such as being unable to communicate, diagnosed with dementia, or even just out of the country, then emergency court action will be needed. This costly delay can be avoided simply by using a knowledgeable attorney who will prepare the right documents in the right way for you.

Another issue is the law may have changed since the form was published to allow you to do things that you could not have previously done, or do them more effectively and efficiently. For example, in 2016, the Michigan legislature made it possible for DPOAs and other estate documents to grant the holder access to the person’s digital assets such as their Facebook page, Google accounts, and online banking accounts.  If your DPOA form predates that change, it doesn’t allow you the necessary access for these crucial forms and documents.

Your estate plan is too important to be jeopardized by short cuts, consult a qualified attorney today!