Estate planning is one of those responsibilities that people tend to postpone as long as possible. Understandably, thinking about the possibility of incapacitation or death is not something most people are eager to consider. However, building a detailed estate plan is essential to ensuring that your wishes are followed if you fall extremely ill or pass away.
The term “power of attorney” may refer to a legal document or the individual that acts as power of attorney. There are two main types of powers of attorney in Illinois. One handles financial concerns on another person’s behalf and the other handles medical decisions. As you create your estate plans, make sure to carefully choose the individual or individuals who will act as your power of attorney.
Power of Attorney for Property and Healthcare Power of Attorney
Have you ever thought about who should manage your affairs if you are in a serious accident or suffer an incapacitating illness? A power of attorney is an estate planning tool that lets you give someone the authority to act on your behalf if you cannot make or express your wishes. In Illinois, a power of attorney for property or financial power of attorney pays your bills and manages your money if you cannot do so yourself. A healthcare power of attorney makes medical decisions for you. Some people choose the same person to act as a healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney. Others choose two separate people to fulfill these roles.
Obviously, the person acting as power of attorney will have a great deal of responsibility and authority over your life. So, it is important to think carefully about this decision.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Power of Attorney
According to Illinois law, a person may only act as power of attorney (PA) if he or she is at least 18 years old. As you choose the person who will act as your power of attorney, consider the following questions:
Can this person handle the responsibilities that come with being a POA?
Does this person have a record of sound decision-making or is he or she prone to impulsive, irrational choices?
Does this person live close enough to me to be readily available in an emergency?
Is this person trustworthy?
Will this person follow my wishes?
Does this person have the assertiveness to handle people who disagree with my wishes?
Once you choose the individual or individuals who will act as your power of attorney, make sure you discuss this crucial responsibility with them. Explain what the role entails and make sure they are up to the task.
Contact a Wheaton Estate Planning Attorney for Help
As you draft your estate plans, make sure to choose a power of attorney you can trust to fulfill this important duty. For all you estate planning needs, turn to Glen Ellyn estate planning lawyer Nick Nelson. Call 630-474-0925 for a free, confidential consultation.