The Power of Attorney: An Important Part of Your Planning
By Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, Illinois. Providing wills and trusts, probate, guardianship and more to residents of Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall Counties in Illinois. Two of the most important documents to put in place when dealing with Alzheimer’s are durable powers of attorney for financial matters and health-care decisions. These documents are important because they allow a family member or trusted friend to have legal authority to carry out the wishes of people suffering from Alzheimer’s once they are no longer able to speak or act for themselves. Powers of attorney are relatively simple, inexpensive legal documents that essentially allow another person to act for the person signing the documents. The person granting the authority by signing the documents is referred to as the principal and the person being granted the authority is the agent or attorney of fact. This person stands in for the principal and is authorized to take almost any action for the principal so long as that action is included in the powers of attorney document. A “durable” power of attorney continues in effect after the principal becomes incapacitated and is unable to supervise and direct the agent. The following are questions your lawyer should go over with you before granting powers of attorney:
- Can you trust the person you wish to grant powers of attorney to carry out your wishes and/or act in your best interest?
- Are there any unresolved family conflicts that have not been addressed? While it may be difficult, It is important to communicate with all family members when making end-of-life planning decisions. Your attorney may be able to help with this.