Online legal forms...experiences using

So I don’t think this qualifies as asking for legal advice, it’s more like asking about asking for legal advice :wink:
Anyone have experience using any sort of online (preferably free) legal forms.  I’m needing to do a power of attorney (POA)for my mother who is in a nursing facility.  Everywhere I go seems to indicate that POAs are really informal and easy to do yourself, but can vary from state to state.  And the boilerplate advice when you do online searches is to “be careful / it might not hold up in court.”  So which is it?  Looks like all you need is the blanks to put who is giving the power and who is receiving the power, a witness and a notary.
And who exactly would be taking this to court to challenge it’s validity?  I suppose the answer to that might be heirs / other family members.  But if me and my only brother are both listed as agents and successor agents then I can’t see who might even get this thing in a court for them to say it isn’t valid. 

Oh and bonus points if there is somewhere I can go and just get the correct (state of Georgia) form from an “official” web page. The only GA form I found was for tax matters.

They have a free 7 day trial so this might work for you.

You might check with the nursing facility. They may have a standard form you can use, since, I assume, this often comes up with their patients/residents.

In your situation you would want to have a legally valid POA not because anyone will challenge it in court, but so that all the establishments where you will use it will accept it. You should also be aware that POAs don’t magically give you all the privileges you might expect. For instance I recently discovered to my dismay that the US Social Security Administration does not recognize POAs.

Really… wow.

Also especially with larger organizations, you may have to jump through some hoops like download a form, fill it out, mail it along with a copy of the POA, then wait 2 or 3 weeks for them to process it, and THEN they’ll talk to you about your mom.

Can I ask why you are looking for “preferably free” Power-of-Attorney forms?

Full disclosure: IAAL, but not in your Mom’s jurisdiction, which allows me to state that I’ve seen more problems with DIY “free” powers-of-attorney than you would believe. Often, for example, people download something that may well be valid in California, but the problem is that their Mom lives in New York. “But it’s free!” Yes, but it will not work in New York, so now that Mom is incapacitated and can no longer attest knowledgeably to a New York PoA, we’ll have to pay a New York lawyer to sort things out in New York. Suddenly that “free” power-of-attorney costs; and it can cost a lot.

There are kits that you can buy, and while I don’t like them, I cannot fault them for being available. You might want to look into such–you will want a Power-of-Attorney kit that is valid in the state where your Mom lives.

You might also consult with a lawyer in Mom’s jurisdiction. Don’t be worried about asking about cost–just go ahead and ask. Most lawyers do Powers-of-Attorney on a flat rate, and they should not be shy about telling you–if they are, call another lawyer. Compare prices: a $50 DIY kit for Mom’s jurisdiction vs. a $100 lawyer’s flat rate in Mom’s jurisdiction vs. a “free” power-of-attorney that might not have any authority on Mom’s jurisdiction. What’s the best bet?

I don’t know what rates would be like in Georgia, nor do I know your Mom’s finances. But it seems to me that if she has anything substantial, then $50 up to say, $300 is a small price to pay for a smooth transit of her financial affairs through banks, insurance companies, pension funds, land titles, and other institutions. I’ve been there wih my Dad, and done that, and I found it to be worth the cost.

IANAL. There are two issues you need to consider.

1. A power of attorney is not magic. My wife has a general POA for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. My wife had a lawyer draw it up. We were selling her car, and one option we considered was selling it outright to CarMax. We brought the POA, but they said they would not accept it. They said they needed a POA that was specific to the vehicle. In fact, nearly every place that she has tried to use it would not accept it, such as the bank.

2. Free legal forms are worth every penny. My experience was not in POAs but I think this applies. I once owned a condo that I rented out for a couple of years. I was going to use cheap legal software to generate the lease. I talked to a lawyer and he said that different jurisdictions have different requirements, and my cheap software lease did not comply with my county’s (maybe it was state, I don’t remember) laws. My wife and I had wills drawn up by an estate lawyer. I have heard of people using cheap software to do it, and have not heard of specific problems, but for any but the most simple estates I would not trust it. A lawyer can review many different options that you might not otherwise be aware of (e.g., various types of trusts). (I do use software to do my taxes but I feel that is a more objective and well-defined process that is designed by the government for the average person to be able to do on their own.)


That is solid advice. Mom’s finances are that she has none. I primarily need the POA so I can access certain records, primary her life insurance policy info which is required as I try to help her file for aid.

Either way it’s asking for opinions so I’ll move it to IMHO.

Agree with Spoons.