Assigning a Power of Attorney – Reasons, Considerations, and the Steps to Take

Illinois wills and trusts lawyersWhen drafting an estate plan, guarantors are often asked whether they have selected a power of attorney to represent them during a period of incapacitation. Do you really need such a person and how do you decide which person to name in your will or trust? More importantly, how can you ensure that the person you select is able to effectively represent your interests? Learn the answers to these questions in the following sections, and to discover how the assistance of a seasoned wills and trusts lawyer can protect the best interests of you, your heirs, and your estate. 

Why Assign a Power of Attorney? 

Although it can be unnerving to legally name and assign someone to handle your financial and healthcare decisions during a period of incapacitation, doing so can benefit you, your family, and your estate. First, it can ensure that you are not given medical treatments that you do not wish to receive. You are also less likely to experience the financial consequences that tend to occur when one’s finances go unmanaged (i.e. late fees, extreme loss in the stock market, unpaid bills, etc.), which can ensure your estate remains preserved for your heirs, should you eventually pass away. 

Considerations to Make When Choosing a Power of Attorney 

When you assign a financial power of attorney, you are giving that person the power to handle your financial affairs. Healthcare proxies make decisions relating to your health. In either case, it is critical that you explicitly trust the person you select to make decisions that are in your best interest, and in accordance with your wishes. As such, there are a few things that you might want to consider when selecting your financial power of attorney or healthcare proxy:

  • Does the person in question have a history of financial problems? Such issues can indicate that the person is unable to effectively manage money;
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with the person? If so, you may want to consider whether they may be secretly holding a grudge against you;
  • Would you say that the person in question is strong, or are they easily persuaded? The latter may find it difficult to respect your wishes if they experience push-back from others in your life; and
  • Do you consider the person in question to be someone of good character? Anyone who works in their own best interests in front of you may be more than willing to defraud you during incapacitation.

Contact Our Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyers Before Taking the Next Step

Once you have selected someone that you feel is trustworthy, honest, and willing to work in your best interests, regardless of the circumstances, take the next step and contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Our seasoned DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers can help ensure that your wishes are clearly stated, and that they comply with all laws so that you are effectively represented during incapacitation. Call 630-665-2500 today. 



No Children? Do Not Skip the Estate Planning Process

Joliet wills and trusts lawyersPeople who do not have children often assume that their assets will go directly to their spouse, so an estate plan is not needed. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Learn why it is still important that you consider the future of your estate, even when you do not have children, and discover how an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can assist you with the development of your estate plan.

What Happens to Assets When You Do Not Have an Estate Plan?

When someone dies without a valid will or trust in place, their assets typically go to their spouse. Unfortunately, there are situations that could prevent them from obtaining the assets. Examples include an ex-spouse that is still listed as a beneficiary on a retirement plan and probate challenges from extended family members who were not intended beneficiaries.

If the individual does not have a spouse, the courts may assign a trustee to the estate until beneficiaries can be found. If there are multiple beneficiaries, the matter may go to probate. In this instance, the value of the estate may be depleted once it reaches the beneficiaries. Thankfully, both issues can be prevented with a well-crafted estate plan.

How an Estate Plan Protects Your Assets After Death

Rather than allowing your estate to be handled by the courts and the trustees it assigns, you can draft a comprehensive estate plan that outlines your final wishes. Doing this not only helps to eliminate any confusion about where your assets should go, but it also reduces the risk of some of the more common after-death estate issues, and it decreases the chances that your estate will go to probate.

You can also name alternative beneficiaries in your estate plan. This reduces the risk of your assets going to unintended parties if your primary beneficiary passes away before your estate can be distributed. An example of this happening would be if your spouse died shortly after you did. If neither of you had an estate plan, the assets might then go to your spouse's family, rather than your own.

Contact Our DuPage County Wills and Trusts Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we work with individuals to help ensure that their wishes are carried after death. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that suits your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation to get started. Call 630-665-2500 today.