Power of Attorney in Chicago, IL
Have you ever wondered who would take care of your finances or make decisions for you if you were unable to do so for yourself? Don’t worry about leaving it up to whoever the law says has this right. Look into securing a power of attorney. This legal document can help you prepare for any situation where you may need someone else to make decisions for you. With the help of an attorney in Chicago, Illinois you can easily set one up and get peace of mind today.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
The American Bar Association defines power of attorney as a document that gives someone power to act on your behalf as a legal agent. This authority can be either temporary, or permanent. The result is that your designated agent can manage your affairs without your written approval.
Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney?
One of the reasons why you may pursue a POA is for convenience. For example, you may rather have someone manage your assets without securing your approval each time. Any Illinois POA can circumvent checks and balance steps, and allow someone to act on your behalf.
Another reason for a POA is if you are unable to make legally sound decisions. A POA provides you with security, giving a person of your choosing the power to act for you. This arrangement is typical for senior citizens. It’s also common for people with severe physical or mental conditions that prevent them from making decisions.
Types of Power of Attorney In Chicago, Illinois
Not every POA grants the same powers to your agent. In fact, you can choose from a variety of different POAs. This allows you to cater to what best suits your situation.
General Power of Attorney
A general POA grants an array of powers to the agent. This can include:
- The ability to handle your financial matters and accounts
- Power to manage your insurance needs
- The ability to operate your business
- The ability to make business decisions on your behalf
- Power to hire or fire employees
- The ability to settle claims against you
- The ability to change your estate plan.
You may use this type of POA if you will be away for an extended period and need legal representation in Chicago, IL to handle your affairs. This legal arrangement may happen during your absence. It may also occur in a situation where you cannot make the decisions on your own due to an illness or injury.
Special Power of Attorney
A special POA is more specific, giving you the power to sign off on distinct powers granted to your agent. For example, if you only want someone to sign off on real estate deals, a limited power of attorney would be proper. You may also choose to use a special POA when you don’t have the time to deal with specific affairs due to time or health constraints.
The Illinois Power of Attorney Act governs POAs in Chicago. The act covers all types of POA, however there is a separate section of laws relating to health care POAs. For general and financial POAs, you can use the statutory short form. This form allows you to grant all general powers or just certain powers. Likewise, there is a statutory form for health care POAs as well. Interestingly, neither of the statutory forms permits co-agents. Therefore, if you wish to have multiple agents at the same time, you will need to have your attorney create a custom POA.
Health Care Power of Attorney
This type of POA grants your agent the right to make all medical decisions on your behalf. It comes in handy when you are not conscious or are otherwise unable to make decisions regarding your health care. While state laws can differ, your POA could have the ability to make serious decisions, like ending life support.
You may want to use a health care POA if you are elderly or sick. It’s possible you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t make decisions on your own. A Power of attorney can transfer to your child or someone you trust so that care can continue in your best interests.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney (DPOA), enables the agent to control specified functions. DPOAs are useful if you anticipate losing your mental faculties, such as after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In essence, it acts as a preventative safeguard.
Under Illinois law, Chicago POAs are durable unless they expressly state otherwise. In addition, valid execution requires that you sign your POA in the presence of a notary and at least one other witness. Furthermore, the witness cannot be:
- The agent or successor agent,
- Your physician or mental health provider,
- The owner or operator of the principal’s residential or health care facility, or
- A relative of the principal or any of the preceding parties
Choosing an Agent
The person you choose as an agent should be someone you trust. Often, people choose a family member as they usually have your best interests in mind and are close to you. However, you can select any individual to be your POA. Keep in mind that whoever you choose will be in charge of managing your affairs. This should be someone you trust to honor your wishes.
Appointing Multiple Agents
As a principal, in Chicago, IL you have the right to appoint multiple agents. You decide whether these agents act together or make separate decisions. Having two or more agents establishes a system of checks and balances. This procedure keeps one agent from making too rash of a judgment. However, it can also lead to discrepancies that may cause delays.
At the very least, it is crucial to have a backup POA should something happen to your primary. A successor agent can take control once the primary agent either passes away or cannot carry out the duties of an agent.
Revoking a Power of Attorney in Chicago, Illinois
You have the right to revoke your power of attorney at any time as long as you are of sound mind to do so. You will have to put your revocation in writing and file it with the same place in Chicago, IL that handled your original POA paperwork.
Another party may also try to revoke your POA. Although, that becomes a much more complex legal proceeding and would be difficult to prove in court. The person would have to show the agent has done something to jeopardize your interests.
Under Illinois statute, you can revoke your Chicago POA at any time and in any manner. However, you must be competent to do so and must communicate the revocation to your agent. On the other hand, revocation of a health care POA has a different set of rules. Most importantly, there is no competency requirement to revoke a health care POA. However, you would need to be competent in order to create a replacement health care POA.
Using a POA to Protect your Interests
You can insert provisions into your agreement that force your agent to report to an outside party. For example, a family accountant or a designated medical doctor could fill this role. This arrangement adds another layer of security and guarantees that another party can review decisions.
An agent owes a fiduciary duty to the principal. Therefore, they can be liable for breaching that duty, whether intentionally or negligently. In addition, Illinois legislation requires Chicago agents to maintain records of all receipts, disbursements, and other actions taken on behalf of the principal. Furthermore, certain parties have a right to examine those records upon request. Some of these parties include:
- The principal, their guardian or other fiduciary acting on their behalf
- The principal’s personal representative or successors in interest, after the principal’s death
- An agent investigating allegations of elder abuse or neglect
- A court
Do I Need a Lawyer to File POA in Chicago, Illinois?
It is always wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Chicago trust or estate issues. POA paperwork can be complex, so having a dedicated Chicago legal professional on your side is helpful. A lawyer can also help you add provisions that safeguard your interests when you cannot look out for yourself.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois
If you want to create a power of attorney, you should begin by speaking with an attorney. We can match you with an experienced Chicago lawyer that can help you navigate your POA. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Illinois state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!