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When and How Should I Create a Power of Attorney?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Oak Forest estate planning lawyer power of attorneyWhen planning your estate and drafting a will, sometimes it will be necessary to create a power of attorney as well. How do you know when it is needed or whom you should choose? Although you may be doing well now, there may come a time as you get older or face unexpected medical issues that you will no longer be able to take care of your own bills and properties, and you may not be able to make decisions about your own personal care. At that time, it will be of utmost importance to have someone you trust to take care of these things for you.

What Does a Power of Attorney Do?

A power of attorney can be vital in protecting you and your assets. When you create a power of attorney agreement, you will name an agent who is authorized to make decisions for you, but your agent will only have as much power as you have laid out for him or her. In other words, you can choose for your agent to simply take care of your bills and property if you are somehow incapacitated, or you can opt for him or her to have more power, such as the authorization to give gifts or set up trusts on your behalf. 

You may also select a power of attorney to take care of your healthcare needs. Adults may create a power of attorney to name an agent who can manage their medical care and personal needs if they become incapacitated or unable to make their own healthcare decisions. As with a power of attorney for property, a power of attorney for healthcare can limit the decisions your agent can make or provide them with general authority to meet your needs.

How Do I Choose a Power of Attorney?

Because a power of attorney agreement can give another person so much control over your money, healthcare, or other areas of your life, your choice of an agent should not be taken lightly. Be sure that you are choosing someone who you can completely trust to do what is in your best interests and who will do his or her best to follow your wishes in any given situation.

Keep in mind that the power of attorney agreement is null and void upon the event of your death. Therefore, even if you have a power of attorney, it is still appropriate to have a will and select an executor of the will whom you trust as well. The power of attorney agent and executor of your estate may be the same person, if you feel that is the best decision.

Call a Cook County Attorney for Help in Planning Your Estate

There are many details that go into creating a power of attorney, and you will want to make sure your agreement meets all legal requirements while protecting your rights and your interests. Contact our Orland Park estate planning attorneys today to discuss your options. Call 708-226-9904 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2113&ChapterID=60

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