May 29, 2020
Thinking about the future can be intimidating, but it is important to consider how you want your wishes carried out in the event you become incapaciated or after you pass away. Under the Illinois Power of Attorney Act, a power of attorney (POA) is someone you (principal) designate (agent) to manage your financial affairs who also makes healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapacitated. The agent can be your spouse, your relative, or a close friend. If you do not appoint a POA, then your family members must ask the court to declare you incompetent and appoint someone to act on your behalf, known as a guardian in Illinois. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can ensure this legally binding document is done correctly.
Illinois Power of Attorney Act
The basic components of the Illinois Power of Attorney Act involve:
- Designation of an agent and a written description of his or her authority
- POA document signed by the principal
- Signed POA document witnessed by a person who is at least 18 years old
- Principal must acknowledge and identify his or her own signature and have the document notarized (the notary public may also be a witness)
It is important to note that you can appoint more than one power of attorney. Two people can serve jointly or separately in decision-making. However, multiple agents may not always agree on how issues should be resolved, which can delay certain decisions and transactions.
In addition, POAs can be revoked at any time. To revoke a power of attorney, notify the agent in writing and make sure to retrieve any copies of the POA documents.
Healthcare and Financial POAs
There are typically two main types of POAs. A healthcare POA makes decisions regarding medical issues for you. Therefore, you must be of sound mind when you appoint this POA. You can give the agent the power to make all of your healthcare decisions, or the agent may only have the authority to act in specific situations. For instance, whether or not you want to be placed on life support or have a feeding tube administered. This agent can also allow certain medications to be prescribed, and give authorization for an autopsy to be performed or your organs to be donated after your death.
A POA for property is also very important since he or she handles your money and makes financial decisions on your behalf. Some of the basic actions this agent can take include:
- Buy or sell real estate property
- Manage bank accounts
- Pay bills
- Control investments
- Handle tax matters
- Run a business
Contact a Woodstock Estate Planning Lawyer
Although no one can predict the future, a power of attorney should be an integral part of your estate plan. If you or someone you know is concerned about what will happen to your assets after you are gone or if you are unable to make sound decisions, it is essential to seek professional legal guidance. The skilled legal team at Prime Law Group, LLC is attune to the needs of our clients. Our accomplished McHenry County estate planning attorneys focus on achieving the best possible solution to your legal matter. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 815-338-2040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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