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Wills, MPOAs, DNRs and attorneys
Old 06-23-2016, 06:26 AM   #1
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Wills, MPOAs, DNRs and attorneys

Quite a few years ago, we had wills and POA's drawn up by an attorney. Now we want to update the wills, and also get Medical POA's and DNRs. We are both utterly determined not to be kept alive by artificial means, and we know of people whose wishes were ignored in this regard.

That same attorney seemingly has done well, and now has other lawyers in practice with him. They still offer a free 30-minute initial consultation, as they did back when we got the wills, but would it be kosher to ask for the 30 free minutes, since we obviously already used their services once?

Re: using a lawyer: Although some will say "just DIY using online forms," my spider sense tells me that I need an attorney, particularly for the MPOA and DNR, to ensure the wording is just right for my state.

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:10 AM   #2
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I'd bet the free 30 minutes would be limited to conversation and if you want anything prepared, even as simple as a DNR or POA there'd be a fee.

I tend to agree on using a lawyer. I'm sure many can be comfortable and have success by DIY but I'd rather know everything is appropriate. We did the whole suite and it was about $900. That included having all the witnesses and notarization, one nice tidy bundle.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:52 AM   #3
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Timely thread as I have a free initial consult coming up Monday. I started the process DIY but never finished as I started researching an item and lost interest. Since the only thing I remember from my Business Law class is that you need a lawyer, I am probably going to bite the bullet and pay to have it done by the pros. POA, Will, and Medical wishes will be under $900. Probably worth it to the kids.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:21 AM   #4
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You can always ask, but be prepared to hear that the 30 min was a one time offer.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:09 AM   #5
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They probably have your documents in their files, if there isn't a major re-write you should get a discount as it is simply editing your earlier documents.

I had a discussion about the life sustaining care issue with my oncologist a few weeks ago. She said it isn't enough to execute the document it needs to be readily available to EMT s, she said it belongs attached to the refrigerator. Just how that works is a mystery to me, a note that it is in an envelope in the freezer?

The document that works is a Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment together with your advance directive POLST and Advance Directives
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:31 AM   #6
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I had heard many examples of DNR documents not being followed. My dad had a DNR, and I had a copy of it. He had a stroke when he turned 94 and needed 24/7 nursing care at home after that. There was a medical binder in his bedroom which the primary nurse had prepared, and my dad's DNR was the first document inside the binder. I made sure that each nurse was aware of my dad's DNR, and his wishes were followed at the end.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:34 AM   #7
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Probably means an envelope attached to a fridge magnet. Many folks already have their doctor's phone #s, etc. on the fridge. It's so prevalent that I've heard the refrigerator described as the home's "Command Center."

Thank you for the tip.

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I had a discussion about the life sustaining care issue with my oncologist a few weeks ago. She said it isn't enough to execute the document it needs to be readily available to EMT s, she said it belongs attached to the refrigerator. Just how that works is a mystery to me, a note that it is in an envelope in the freezer?

The document that works is a Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment together with your advance directive POLST and Advance Directives
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:34 AM   #8
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I can't speak for every attorney but generally free consults are for new clients in my office. Also, it's never for a client to come in and get help filling out a form or some other thing where it's clear they just want free advice and have no intent to hire (I know you didn't say that but just expressing something I find bothersome). Having said that, if a past client called to discuss updates I typically don't charge if 10-15 minute conversation. In that time we can usually ascertain what work is needed and I can give a fee quote for the client to accept or not. However, of course, every attorney does things differently. It seems to be the free consult is sort of a get-to-know each other so the client can make sure they like the attorney and vice versa. So if the attorney wants you to work with an associate then a little free consult would seem appropriate to me.

Also, if life support is such a key issue look at the POLST form at polst.org and go over that with your doctor.
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Old 06-23-2016, 02:50 PM   #9
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Probably worth it to the kids.
As "one of the kids" who had to deal with the estate for my mother and helping DW with her father's illness and estate, rest assured it is very much worth it. Anyone who has all the paperwork done will save whoever ends up looking after them and dealing with the estate a huge amount of frustration and work. My mother had made prearrangements for her funeral - about the only thing we had to decide was what kind of flowers to get. That was a huge relief at a stressful time.

Just the POA itself when FIL was in a nursing home was worth the fee paid for the whole package because it simplified so many things that otherwise would have required a court order.

So yes, you'd be doing your kids a huge favor by having the paperwork in order.
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Old 06-23-2016, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: using a lawyer: Although some will say "just DIY using online forms," my spider sense tells me that I need an attorney, particularly for the MPOA and DNR, to ensure the wording is just right for my state.

Thanks,

Amethyst
it's well worth it IMO - just make sure your estate atty is 10 years or so younger than you
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Old 06-23-2016, 02:59 PM   #11
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Re: using a lawyer: Although some will say "just DIY using online forms," my spider sense tells me that I need an attorney, particularly for the MPOA and DNR, to ensure the wording is just right for my state.

Thanks,

Amethyst
I won't say "just DIY using online forms,", but I think there is value in investigating that route, to be better prepared for your meeting with the attorney.

Small sample size, but so far, for the forms I've seen, the on-line (Nolo) versions sure looked better to me than the ones I've seen from local lawyers. Clearer, none of the fluff that appears to be included only to impress the client. And being more public, I'm going to assume better 'tested'?

Our State (IL) has an on-line form for Medical POA. It's not complicated, I'm not sure what value a lawyer could add to a form approved for your state (if one is available to you). The Hospital and Skilled Nursing center for my Mom had us sign their own forms anyhow. But you'll want to have one prepared, if you aren't able to communicate your wishes when taken to the hospital.

But again, the om-line forms could act as a reference point for you.

-ERD50
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:31 PM   #12
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Funny you post this today ... because we just made an appointment with a lawyer to update our wills and other associated documents. Cost will be $950. In my opinion, the documents are important enough to not DIY. Also, my understanding is that to avoid probate (time and costs) you need to define Trusts - which gets somewhat confusing and you want to be sure it is done correctly. We do not plan to update our wills too often, so $1k once in a while is worth piece of mind.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:46 AM   #13
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On a slightly different subject, join your local consumer's memorial association. They contract with mortuaries and as a result fees are substantially lower. You can complete a form at that mortuary where you indicate your desires. Keep in mind the fact that your survivors actually make that decision but it helps a lot to have your preferences on record. For example my Mother wanted to be cremated and her urn placed next to my Father's. Sister didn't want cremation. Brother and I simply told her we are following Mother's instructions. She was still a drama queen but she couldn't put a guilt trip on us.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:36 PM   #14
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I won't say "just DIY using online forms,", but I think there is value in investigating that route, to be better prepared for your meeting with the attorney.

Small sample size, but so far, for the forms I've seen, the on-line (Nolo) versions sure looked better to me than the ones I've seen from local lawyers. Clearer, none of the fluff that appears to be included only to impress the client. And being more public, I'm going to assume better 'tested'?
+1
Dealt with my mothers estate last year and her lawyer drawn will was very inadequate IMO. Since then I have used WillMaker to educate myself on what I will need for my will and it certainly opened my eyes to quite a few things I wish my mother had included in her will. Even if using a lawyer it's still a great way to educate yourself beforehand.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:15 PM   #15
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My wife and I just updated our last month. I had mine drawn up 12 years ago and hers was before that, and they were outdated.

$600 total for the two of us to update

well worth it in my opinion
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Old 06-27-2016, 12:22 PM   #16
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So I had the free hour consult today and decided to have the lawyer draw up a Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy. All in it will be less than $500.

Attorney suggests I revisit doing a Trust in a couple years after I decide what I will do regarding the house.

He did tell me a couple things to watch for in NY if I DIY, but at this price I'm going to pay for the piece of mind of going with a pro.
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