What Happens If You Don’t Have A Power Of Attorney

  • Estate Planning
  • Illinois Probate Law
What Happens If You Don't Have A Power Of Attorney | estate and probate legal group

An estate plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, at the very least, an estate plan only needs 3 documents: a will or trust, a healthcare directive and a power of attorney (POA). That’s it. And each of those three documents does not have to be complicated either. A POA is an easy document to establish, but it can be troublesome if you don’t have one. In this article will look at what happens if you don’t have a power of attorney.

What Is A Power Of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to act on your behalf regarding financial, legal or medical issues. It is mainly used when you become unable to make decisions for yourself. This can be temporary, such as if you are unconscious from an accident. Or permanent, such as when you become older and no longer have the mental capacity. Because a power of attorney is so flexible, there is no reason for you not to have one as part of your estate plan.

Types of power of attorneys are:

  • General
    This gives someone the power to act on your behalf regarding all financial matters.
  • Durable
    A durable POA allows the person to handle your affairs such as banking, social security and real estate. It is common when when it’s permanent you can no longer make your own decisions.
  • Limited
    A limited power of attorney allows someone to act only in certain areas. Say you want to purchase land in another country, and you can give someone power of attorney to buy the piece of land you choose.
  • Medical
    Medical POAs allow someone to make medical decisions for you. This differs from a healthcare directive in that they make the decisions; you do not necessarily have your medical wishes written down.

You can see the importance of a POA in most situations. But what happens if you don’t have one?

What Happens If You Don’t Have One?

If you become incapacitated and do not have a power of attorney, the courts will decide for you. You have no say in who you want to handle your financial or medical decisions. When the courts will appoint a conservator or guardian, it can take time and money away from you and your loved ones.

Imagine if the court assigns your estranged sibling access to all of your records and the ability to do anything they want with it. Or what happens if your child is now 19 years old and in college and they are in an accident? They are now considered an adult, and without a POA, you do not have the authority to make any financial or medical decision on their behalf.

A power of attorney is such a simple document to fill out and make legal. There is no good reason not to have this document as part of your estate plan. Did you know you can name several people as your power of attorney? That way, if one person is unavailable, the next one can take care of things for you.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you establish a power of attorney, a will or trust and a healthcare directive.

Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorney

An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create a power of attorney. Consulting an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney in the Chicago area can give you protection and peace of mind. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835

Areas We Serve: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties