Getting a Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney allows you to select an “agent” to exercise legal authority on your behalf in regards to your financial affairs and property. This can include making deposits and withdrawals from your bank accounts, paying your bills, managing your investments, selling your home, or anything else that you would normally do yourself. When you appoint another individual to make financial decisions on your behalf, that individual is called an “attorney in fact.” Anyone can be designated, most commonly your spouse or domestic partner, a trusted family member, or friend.

Appointing a power of attorney assures that your wishes are carried out exactly as you want them and allows you to decide who will make decisions for you. Typically, under Chicago and New York Power of Attorney Law, these agreements take effect immediately and are terminated should you become disabled.

Durable Power of Attorney Illinois

Since power of attorney typically becomes invalid in the event of your disability, it can unfortunately fail you just when you need it the most. That’s why many people prefer a Durable Power of Attorney instead. With a Durable Power of Attorney, your agent will retain the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf regardless of any subsequent disability.

Springing Power of Attorney

Unlike most Powers of Attorney that transfer legal rights to the agent immediately, a Springing Power of Attorney allows you to retain these rights up until the time that you become disabled according to your doctor. Springing Powers of Attorney take effect immediately upon subsequent disability.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

Traditional Powers of Attorney only give the agent the legal authority to make decisions regarding your finances and property. In order to designate someone to make decisions regarding your medical care, you need a Healthcare Power of Attorney. In a Healthcare Power of Attorney, you can also provide instructions for medical care that you do not wish to receive should you become seriously or terminally ill. Both New York and Illinois Power of Attorney Laws have provisions for Healthcare Power of Attorney.

How to Get Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is an agreement that you should enter only upon request. Trying to coerce someone into a Power of Attorney agreement is ill-advised and may even result in the agreement being declared invalid. If you are asked to become an attorney-in-fact for a friend or family member, be sure to contact an experienced Power of Attorney lawyer to ensure that the documentation is handled properly. Also, note that if a Power of Attorney is signed by someone who is mentally incapacitated, it can be ruled invalid. In the case of a mental disability, you may need a court order that designates you as guardian or conservator over the individual’s affairs.

The fact that Powers of Attorney can help families avoid unnecessary court proceedings combined with their low cost make them popular estate planning tools. However, there are many shortcomings of these agreements, chief among them their tendency to be less than binding in the eyes of many financial institutions. Thus, the best approach is to use a Power of Attorney in conjunction with a comprehensive estate plan. If you’re in need of a reputable Illinois Power of Attorney lawyer or New York Power of Attorney lawyer, we can help!