Chances are good you will need a power of attorney at some point during your lifetime. When life gets complicated, a power of attorney can put your mind at ease knowing your wishes will be carried out by a trusted person that you yourself have appointed. Knowing that it is inevitable that a POA will benefit you at some point, it is important to understand what a power of attorney is and when you will need one.
What is a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that appoints a person, also known as the attorney-in-fact or agent, to handle your medical and financial matters should you become incapable of doing so. Some examples of when a POA is necessary:
- You live alone with no family and will be undergoing a major surgery.
- You have just been diagnosed with a serious illness.
- You and your spouse will be out of the country for 6 months but need to sell your house.
- You are a young, single successful business owner.
Each situation warrants the need for a POA, and there are different types of POA’s applicable for different scenarios.
Types of POA’s
- A Conventional Power of Attorney begins when the principal signs it and lasts until that person becomes mentally incapacitated.
- A Springing Power of Attorney begins only when a certain event occurs, such as the principal becoming mentally incapacitated. This document should be carefully prepared to ensure it is clear when the POA takes effect.
- Durable Power of Attorney begins when the principal signs it and lasts the duration of the principal’s lifetime. This is usually the best option because the principal can make his or her own decisions until she becomes incapacitated and no one needs to worry about the event in which a springing power of attorney takes place.
All POA’s expire once the principal dies, and the agent can no longer act on behalf of the principal after that time. It is important to note that a POA cannot be assigned after the principal is no longer able to make their own decisions. If you don’t have a POA and one of these situations arise, you and your family could be in for costly delays. The best way to make sure your document covers all state requirements as well your interests is to meet with an experienced attorney.
Churchill, Quinn, Richtman, & Hamilton, Ltd is well versed in all components of powers of attorney. We are committed to helping our clients protect their financial and medical intentions. We help people living in Grayslake, Round Lake, Gurnee, & other Northern Illinois suburbs. Contact us at 847-223-1500 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.