Powers of Attorney Lawyer Serving Lake County & Cook County, Illinois
During the estate planning process, it is crucial that you make necessary provisions for many kinds of possibilities. For example, in the event of your incapacitation, you’ll need someone to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. This should be someone you trust.
This is where the concept of “powers of attorney” comes into play. The use of the word “attorney” in the concept might be confusing because the person you designate as your “agent” in your power of attorney does not have to be an attorney. Generally, the agent you name will be a close friend or associate, to whom you delegate decision-making power, thus granting a “power of attorney.”
For all your estate planning needs in or around Lake County and Cook County, Illinois, contact me at Goldstein Law Office. With six decades of experience in helping people plan for their futures and care for their loved ones, I can create the legal instruments you need to provide for yourself and your loved ones no matter what the future may bring.
As an estate planning attorney, I proudly serve clients throughout Lake County and Cook County, including Antioch, Deerfield, Highland Park, Lake Forest, North Chicago, and Waukegan. Set up a consultation with me today.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes someone else to act on your behalf. It can be temporary, permanent, limited to certain functions, or otherwise tailored to what you feel is important to your well-being.
You as the principal creating the document can name anyone you trust—with certain legal restrictions—to act in your stead. That person does not have to be an actual attorney, but acting in your stead, they will be known as an attorney-in-fact.
Illinois Compiled Statutes known as the “Power of Attorney Act” establish the criteria for establishing a POA. First off, you must be of legal age and be of sound mind. The document also must be created in the presence of a notary public with one disinterested witness attesting to the act. Disinterested means that the witness cannot gain in any way in the creation of the power of attorney. Thus, these individuals cannot be witnesses:
Your doctor or mental health provider or their relatives
The owner or operator of a health care facility where you’re a patient or resident, or their relatives
Your parent, sibling, child, or grandchild or a spouse of any of these relatives
The person you name as your agent or successor agent in your POA
Types of Powers of Attorney
In general, a power of attorney gives someone else the authority to act in your behalf when it comes to financial, health care, or other issues that arise when you cannot make the decisions on your own.
A power of attorney can take different forms. An unlimited power of attorney allows the agent you name to make most decisions for you. Though it is called unlimited, it does not allow your attorney-in-fact to create or alter a will you have created. An unlimited power of attorney can also be durable, meaning that it takes effect as soon as it’s created, or it could be triggered by standards set forth in the document (see “springing” below).
A limited power of attorney is just that—restricted to certain areas of your personal life such as finances or healthcare decisions. In this sense, a limited POA can allow your agent to manage your rental properties while you’re overseas on business, or off on active duty.
A limited POA can also be employed to convey your healthcare choices should you become incapacitated and unable to voice your own treatment preferences. This is also sometimes called a “do not resuscitate” POA, though that is certainly not the only option you can specify.
A power of attorney can also be created as a “springing” document. This means that the POA doesn’t take effect until some event or circumstance takes place. The healthcare POA, for instance, would only take effect if incapacitation occurred, and a financial POA would take effect only if you as the principal who granted it were unable to make those decisions on your own.
Why Are Powers of Attorney Important?
Life is full of uncertainties. Not all surprises can be avoided, but they can be managed with proper planning. A power of attorney would enable someone to voice your medical treatment preferences in the event that you are unable to do so. A POA would also allow someone you trust to manage your finances while you recover from any number of unexpected health issues.
Power of Attorney Lawyer in Lake County & Cook County, Illinois
A power of attorney is a key part of estate planning. You can never anticipate the future, but you can prepare for any eventuality. That’s why a power of attorney for financial and healthcare concerns should be included in your long-term planning. If you’re in Lake County or Cook County, Illinois, or in surrounding areas, contact me at Goldstein Law Office for all your estate planning needs.