A power of attorney (POA) is a legal text in which an individual known as the “principal” delegates another person known as the “agent” to operate on his or her behalf. The POA empowers the agent to make either a restricted or a wide-ranging group of legal decisions about the principal’s personal items, finances, or health, contingent upon the terms of the POA. The phrase “power of attorney” can also denote the person delegated to perform in this way.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
In terms of health-related decisions, should you become incapacitated, it is important to have a health care power of attorney (HCPA) in place to allow a specific person to speak with health care providers and others, and make decisions on your behalf about your medical situation, types of treatment, and overall care. It is also essential that your HCPA be highly trustworthy, as he or she may be required to make life-and-death decisions for you if necessary. In Illinois and certain other states, a power of attorney for health care can be combined with a living will into one document called an “advance directive.”
Power of Attorney for Personal Items
If you have personal items that are only in your name, your spouse would be required to obtain a power of attorney of property to take legal or financial action connected with these items, such as putting them up for sale. Power of attorney of property typically relates to all tangible and intangible possessions held by the principal, such as personal residences, valuables, bank accounts, and stocks. The conditions of the contract, such as what can and cannot be administered, are agreed upon at the time the contract is created.
If you’re thinking about executing a power of attorney, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation about your case. Our experienced team of attorneys can help you to formulate a power of attorney that is clear and specific in the powers and duties you wish to assign and that will give you and your family peace of mind.