When you are considering estate planning, it is only natural to have questions like what is a power of attorney, and do I need it? A power of attorney (POA) grants powers to someone you trust to make important decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. Some decisions covered in power of attorney documents include managing your finances, medical treatment, and other considerations. Thus, it is important to create a power of attorney document before something happens and you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
Many people are under the misconception that a power of attorney is something only the elderly need. However, there are plenty of benefits to completing a power of attorney while you are able and mentally fit. Consider meeting with an estate planning attorney to create this essential document. That way, you have a plan in place before you become mentally incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Picking the Right Person to Handle Your Affairs
Having a power of attorney can eliminate arguments and divisiveness in your family. In most cases, you know which one of your family members that you would choose to serve as the guardian of your affairs. However, those wishes will not be known unless you create a power of attorney. In the absence of a power of attorney, family members often argue amongst themselves about who is the most appropriate person to handle the privilege. So, you can help your family avoid uncertainty and uncomfortable conversations by making the choice yourself while you are able.
Another important consideration is that a court can grant any powers it deems necessary to your guardian in the absence of a POA. Unfortunately, that could include different powers than you would wish that person to have. So, creating a POA can help you ensure that you make the decision on who will act for you and the limitation on the powers that person will have.
What Does the Financial Power of Attorney Cover?
Along with questions like what is a power of attorney, and do I need it, you may also wonder what the power of attorney addresses. Some of the most common powers included in the power of attorney are:
- Selling property
- Making investments
- Paying debts
- The ability to make changes to an estate plan
As you can see, these are important powers concerning financial security. Thus, you need to make sure the person you name as your guardian in a POA is someone you can trust. Otherwise, someone could use those powers to take advantage of you for their own financial gain. An experienced estate planning attorney can counsel you on your decision-making process during the creation of your POA. That way, you can protect the financial security of your family.
What Does the Medical Power of Attorney Cover?
The power of attorney for health care grants your guardian the power to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf. So, a guardian can exert that power if an attending physician certifies that you lack the capacity to make medical decisions for yourself. However, you can revoke the powers granted in a medical POA either orally or in writing, regardless of your mental capacity. There are two important benefits that you receive with a medical power of attorney.
- You designate a representative that you feel confident would make medical decisions according to your wishes.
- Conflicts between family members with differing opinions on your medical treatment can be minimized with an appointed guardian in place.
Consult with Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys
The attorneys here at Essig Law hope this information helps. When you have questions, our experienced estate planning attorneys are standing by, ready to provide the answers you need. We have more than 40 years of experience with estate planning in Woodford County IL and estate planning in Tazewell County IL. Contact Essig Law if you need any of the following:
Get legal counsel you can trust from the father-son team of lawyers at Essig Law Office. Dean and Dustin Essig help residents across Peoria IL, Pekin IL, Washington IL, Morton IL, East Peoria IL, Eureka IL, and Metamora IL handle their toughest legal concerns. We offer all new clients a free initial consultation. Our firm wants to discuss your best options concerning your estate planning needs. Call 309-444-8041 to schedule your consultation now!