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Power of Attorney Forms

When you sign a Power of Attorney ("POA"), you create an agency relationship between you and your "attorney-in-fact" (i.e., agent). The attorney-in-fact need not be a lawyer - the word "attorney" in this sense means your agent. Your agent is duty bound to act in your best interest. If your agent abuses his/her power under your Power of Attorney, the agent can be held legally accountable through the court system. It is critical that you designate an agent who has a history of acting responsibly, especially when it comes to their own finances.

For estate planning purposes, there are two types of Powers of Attorney: Durable Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Durable Power of Attorney for Property. In this type of POA, you name a person who will have the power to manage your finances if you become unable to do so (i.e., you become disabled). This type of POA continues to be effective during any period when you are incapacitated. If a POA is not "durable," it will not be effective when and if the principal becomes incapacitated. Therefore, it is recommended that you direct your estate lawyer to prepare a "durable" POA.

Power of Attorney for Health Care. In this type of POA, you name a person who will have the authority to make health care related decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your health care wishes.

Powers of Attorney can be designed to take effect immediately, or upon the principal becoming incapacitated. The trust and estate lawyer of Sylvester Law Firm designs POAs to take effect upon the principal becoming incapacitated. We design POAs to take effect when a medical physician confirms in writing that the principal is unable to manage their financial affairs. The agent named in the POA can then take the POA and the doctor's written "confirmation of incapacitation" to financial institutions so as to manage the principal's financial affairs.

Powers of Attorney are powerful legal documents, and you should only sign one after speaking with an attorney who has extensive estate planning experience. The Chicago estate planning attorney of Sylvester Law Firm has such experience. Call us today at (847) 251-2999 to discuss your need for a Durable Power of Attorney for Property and a Health Care Power of Attorney.

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