What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document in which you state that you give someone else (usually a relative or a friend) the authority to make certain decisions to act on your behalf.
You can still make decisions
Executing a Power of Attorney does not mean that you can no longer make decisions; it just means that another person can act for you also. As long as you are capable of making decisions, the other person must follow your directions. You are simply sharing your power with someone else.
Revocation of a Power of Attorney
You can revoke the agent’s authority under the Power of Attorney at any time after you become dissatisfied with what they are doing. The person to whom you give these powers is called an “agent”. You are called the “principal”. Just because the word attorney is used does not mean that the person you give authority to has to be a lawyer.
How to choose an Agent?
The person you have designated to be your Agent or attorney-in-fact assumes certain duties and responsibilities. The most important obligation of the Agent is to act in your best interests. The “Agent is a Afiduciary”, which means that he or she must act with the highest degree of good faith in your behalf.
Keep your money separate
An Attorney-In-fact must keep your money separate from his or her own. He or she must not personally be involved and/or stand to profit by any transaction where he or she represents your interests. He or she must keep separate and accurate records regarding all transactions he or she engages in for your benefit.
How to create a Power of Attorney
When you fill out a Power of Attorney form you are stating what, as the Principal, want the person acting for you, the Agent, to be able to do for you.
Can a Power of Attorney be created when a person is mentally incapacitated?
In order to create a Power of Attorney, you must know and understand what you are doing. A person who is mentally incapacitated is not capable of meeting these requirements.
Cancelling A Power of Attorney
If for any reason you are no longer comfortable having your chosen Agent or Agents handle your affairs, you have the right to revoke the Power of Attorney at any time, as long as you are of sound mind.
Is a Power of Attorney effective after death?
A Power of Attorney ends upon death. Therefore, your will, or the law of intestacy, governs the handling of your estate. A Power of Attorney document is not a substitute for a will.
Is the Agent required to keep records?
The Agent should keep separate and accurate records and make them available to you or to the persons you designate.
Does an Agent get paid?
This depends on the relation of the Agent and the Principal and the duties involved. Normally, in family situations where the attorney-in-fact process duties are simple, no payment is provided. If payment is desired, it should be clearly stated in the Power of Attorney document.
An Illinois Power of Attorney
In an Illinois Power of Attorney, a person appoints another person to act on his or her behalf for financial or other situations. A Power of Attorney can be general, which means granting broad powers, or a Power of Attorney can be special, which means granting powers only in specific situations.
Reasons for a Power of Attorney
Reasons to create a Power of Attorney include when you wish to provide authority for someone to act temporarily on your behalf in your absence, or when you wish for someone to act on your behalf in case you become incapacitated or when you wish for someone to act on your behalf in certain specified situations.
Why do you need a Power of Attorney?
If you become ill or injured and you cannot take care of your own finances, someone else must step into help. With a financial Power of Attorney, you name a trusted person to pay bills, make bank deposits, watch over investments, collect insurance or government benefits, and handle other money matters on your behalf. Without this important document, your loved ones may have to go to Court to get authority over your financial affairs.
Who makes financial decisions under a Power of Attorney?
The person you name to make decisions for your is called your attorney-in-fact. Any competent adult can serve as your attorney-in-fact. The person most definitely does not have to be a lawyer. Honesty, common sense and dependability should be the most important factors in your decisions.
When does a financial Power of Attorney take effect?
You can draft your financial Power of Attorney so that it takes effect as soon as you sign it. If you do not want to make an immediately effective document, you can state that your Power of Attorney will not go into effect unless a doctor certifies that you have become incapacitated. This is called a “Springing Power of Attorney”.
When does a Financial Power of Attorney Terminate?
A Power of Attorney automatically ends at your death. As long as you are mentally competent, you can revoke your document at any time. Although it is rare, a Court may declare your document invalid if it concludes that you were not mentally competent when you signed it, or that you were a victim of fraud or under the influence.
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We often receive referrals from other attorneys who may not practice, at least to the extent we do, in regard to certain areas of the law, including complex family matters. As a result, this has increased our volume of cases and expertise in this area of the law.
We have been involved in various legal matters in numerous counties throughout Illinois, including Bond County, Clay County, Clinton County, Effingham County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Green County, Hamilton County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Jersey County, Johnson County, Macoupin County, Madison County, Marion County, Monroe County, Perry County, Randolph County, St. Clair County, Salem County, Union County, Washington County, Wayne County, White County, Williamson County, Edwards County and including cities such as Belleville, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Alton, Carlyle, Greenville, Vandalia, Bloomington, Springfield, Vienna, Pinckneyville, Nashville, Jerseyville, Carrollton, McLeansboro, Carmi, Marion and Carbondale.