You might be one of many people in Illinois who haven’t yet taken any formal steps to execute an estate plan. On the other hand, perhaps you created a plan several years ago and are currently conducting a review to check whether any changes or updates are necessary. In either case, if you’re age 18 or over, estate planning issues are relevant, particularly those concerning power of attorney (POA).
If you’re not familiar with the estate planning process, you might wonder whether a POA is a person or a thing. The answer is that it’s both. The term “power of attorney” sometimes refers to a legal document you can sign as part of an estate plan. People also use the POA phrase to refer to a specific person designated as an agent with authority to act on another person’s behalf when making decisions regarding health or finances.
These issues are legitimate reasons to sign a POA
If you’re thinking about executing an estate plan for the first time or updating an existing plan, you might be wondering whether you should designate someone as a POA. The following list includes several issues that often prompt an estate owner to incorporate a POA into a plan:
- You are in the military and are getting ready to deploy.
- You are an expatriate worker who is preparing for work overseas.
- You are beyond age 65.
- You have serious health concerns.
In addition to these issues that constitute logical reasons to execute a POA, you might simply be the type of person who likes to be as prepared as possible for the future, in which case you want to sign a POA to gain peace of mind, knowing that, if something happens to you that causes incapacitation, you have already chosen someone you trust to act on your behalf to make medical or financial decisions.
Limited or full POA authority
Just as there are various types of powers of attorney, you can also limit the range of authority you want a specific POA to have. Then again, you might want to initiate a power of attorney with unlimited authority to act on your behalf in any situation pertaining to the category of POA, such as medical and health issues or finances.
POA laws are not uniform throughout the country, meaning that each state has its own regulations and guidelines. To make sure that you are executing a POA plan that best fits your needs and estate planning goals, it’s helpful to discuss the topic with someone well-versed in Illinois estate planning laws before signing any documents.