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Choosing the Right Person to Be Your Power of Attorney

Posted on in Estate Planning

DuPage County power of attorney lawyersWhen you look to the future, you probably understand that a time might come where you are no longer able to make sound decisions for yourself. Nobody likes to think in such terms, but the reality is your health could deteriorate to the point where you cannot express your desires about your money, belongings, or even your medical care. In order to account for this possibility, the law in Illinois allows you to choose a person to act as your power of attorney for important decisions like these. The selected person will have legal authority to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself.

Characteristics of the Right Person

Under Illinois law, the person you choose as your power of attorney is actually called an “attorney-in-fact” or an “agent.” Your agent must have the necessary skills and ability to handle the responsibilities associated with a good power of attorney. A solid candidate must:

  • Be detail-oriented;
  • Be organized and financially responsible;
  • Be educated and/or experienced in dealing with finances, insurance, and/or healthcare, depending upon the duties you are asking of him or her; and
  • Be able to work well with accountants, lawyers, doctors, hospitals, and other professionals to protect you and your best interests.

In addition to being capable, your selected agent must also be willing to take on the responsibilities associated with powers of attorney. A person who only agrees out of a sense of obligation is not likely to be very helpful. If you ask someone to be your agent and they seem unsure, you might want to ask somebody else.

Someone You Can Trust

A personal connection is an important part of selecting your power of attorney. You want your agent to have a good understanding of your situation, including your finances and health considerations. Just knowing, however, is not really enough. Your agent should also recognize and understand your personal values and be willing to make choices that are in line with your beliefs. He or she should be able to put aside his or her own beliefs in favor of your when serving as your agent. You have the right to expect such courtesy from your power of attorney.

Your Agent’s Health

Last, but not least, you need to consider the fact that you are choosing someone to take over decision-making for you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. Chances are, this time will come relatively later in your life. Thus, you should select an agent who is likely to live longer than you will. While unexpected tragedies do happen, you might consider choosing a relatively young, healthy individual to serve as your agent. This way, he or she is less likely to have mental or physical health concerns that interfere with the duties of being your power of attorney.

A Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

If you are considering drafting a power of attorney and need help choosing an agent, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney for guidance. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

https://www.everplans.com/articles/how-to-choose-a-power-of-attorney

http://money.cnn.com/pf/money-essentials-power-of-attorney/


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