A power of attorney (POA) lets you give someone — the agent or attorney-in-fact — the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. There are a few different powers of attorney, including a medical POA, financial POA, and even a power of attorney for a child. Powers of attorney can also be durable, which means they continue to take effect when your mental capacity has been compromised, like when you're in a coma, and that makes the document a particularly important part of someone’s estate plan.
A medical power of attorney or health care proxy allows the agent to make healthcare decisions
A financial power of attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions
You may only pay notary fees if you create a POA on your own
Consider getting a lawyer if you want to name multiple agents or have specific circumstances you want your POA to cover
Making your own power of attorney
If you create a power of attorney on your own, then you will typically only pay the cost of notarization. POAs are legal documents, and the act of notarizing helps prove their validity. States regulate how much a notary public can charge for their services, which may only run a few dollars. Find out how much notary fees cost where you live.
Your state’s website or bar association may offer free power of attorney agreements that you can fill out. You can also make a POA through an online service for under $50.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to customize power of attorney forms that you find online, and they may be limited in what they include. If you need to add or remove specific powers for your agent that aren’t listed on the form then it may be best to use a service or consult with a lawyer.
Cost of hiring a lawyer
A elder law or estate planning attorney could charge a few hundred dollars for a power of attorney, but it can depend on your circumstances and where you live. Lawyers in urban areas tend to cost more. If you've already hired an attorney to help create an estate plan, like a will and trust, then having them prepare a POA may not cost as much as it would if you were to get a standalone document — but it depends entirely on the lawyer.
You should consider paying an attorney to prepare the POA when you have complex or specific situations that you need to cover.
You need to include certain medical decisions and situations at length in your medical POA.
You need to include specific financial matters and situations in your financial POA.
You need to name more than one attorney-in-fact.
You need other legal advice.
Related article: What’s the difference between a living will and a power of attorney?