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Do not wait to set up powers of attorney

Trying to plan and prepare for the future can truly be a daunting task. While, realistically, there is no way to plan for every possible thing, it is possible to ensure that all of your legal bases are covered.

As part of the estate planning process, Illinois residents can set up powers of attorney in order to fully protect their wants and wishes in the event they become incapacitated. Setting this up in advance will only help your loved ones in the event it needs to be utilized.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document in which you designate the person or persons who will be responsible for making decisions for you in the event you cannot. There are two different types of powers of attorney. One is for health care purposes, while the other is for financial matters.

Health care power of attorney

In a health care power of attorney, you will decide who will get to make any medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. You will also be able to include any specific instructions you would like them to follow in a health care directive. By naming a personal representative and documenting your wishes, this can help reduce any family conflict and will also ensure that everyone knows and observes your desires for treatment.

Financial power of attorney

In a financial power of attorney, you will get to name the individual who will be responsible for your assets and money management if you are no longer able take care of these matters for yourself. This person will handle the following things -- among various others:

  • Pay your bills
  • Pay your taxes
  • Access all of your financial accounts
  • Sell your assets
  • Manage real estate holdings

Limitations of power

If you have concerns that a power of attorney will give someone too much control over your medical and financial decisions, don't be. Not only can you set limitations, but the state of Illinois also has guidelines and limitations as to how much power these personal representatives actually have. At the end of the day, this individual must make decisions that will serve your best interests.

Creating powers of attorney can be difficult and confusing. An experienced estate planning attorney can walk you through the ins and outs of both health care and financial power of attorney documents so that you can be sure your wishes are fully and clearly documented.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law