Don’t over complicate your POAs

A solid estate plan includes assigning powers of attorney to one or more individuals whom you trust to make your medical and financial decisions should you become incapacitated. The problems with POAs is that too many people tend to over complicate them. While a lot of thought should go into giving someone this much responsibility, Peoria area residents can help themselves as they make their decisions and draft their legal documents by remembering to keep it simple.

When it comes to making these important decisions, you may wonder whether you could divide financial POA between multiple parties without it messing up any plans for your medical POA. This is actually a fairly common situation.

Possibility number one: Use separate documents

One of the easiest things you can do when wanting to give more than one person POA over medical and financial decisions is to use separate documents. Not only can you have one POA form for medical purposes and another for financial purposes, but you can also have separate documents for each person you wish to have a say in your health and financial decisions. For example, you could consider any of the following options:

  • Create one medical POA and one financial POA.
  • Create two medical and two financial POAs, one for each appointed agent.
  • Create one POA for medical purposes and two financial POAs — one for each agent.

While multiple documents granting limited powers over specific financial accounts or medical decisions would probably grant the most clarity should they need to be activated, it is possible to name more than one person on a single document and provide details about who is responsible for what. However, there are no guarantees that a single POA listing more than one representative would be interpreted the way you intend.

Possibility number two: For financial accounts, you may work directly with the banks

If only financial accounts are the concern, it may be possible to work directly with banks to grant your representative of choice limited POAs. This is different than designating a beneficiary or having someone become a co-owner of the account. It is just a form you sign that allows your person of choice to become a signatory on a specific account.

Do what you feel works best for your situation

When it comes to estate planning, you have options. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works here. If you want to assign more than one individual as power of attorney agents, do it. Just make sure to do it in a way that is simple and can be clearly understood so there is no room for misinterpretation.


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The Law Office of William C. Wombacher

Local: 309-674-8125
Fax: 309-674-8149

Commerce Bank Building
416 Main Street Suite 700
Peoria, IL 61602
NELF | National Elder Law Foundation
CAP | Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Illinois State Bar Association