Table of Contents
- Download a Illinois Power of Attorney Template
- Illinois Power of Attorney Requirements
- Reasons to Draft a Power of Attorney
- Types of Power of Attorney Documents
- What’s Important When Choosing an Agent?
- Does a Power of Attorney Address Health Care Decisions?
1. Download a Illinois Power of Attorney Template
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2. Illinois Power of Attorney Requirements
In Illinois, a power of attorney is a crucial legal agreement that can allow business associates to stand in and sign off on financial transactions or handle other specified duties in the owner’s absence. It’s also considered a type of “just-in-case” document, one that gives a proxy the right to handle financial and business transactions, and other noted duties in the event a person becomes incapacitated.
No matter a person’s situation, adults who want to make sure their property and assets are handled and distributed properly should have a power of attorney (POA).
A power of attorney is a legal document that outlines a number of powers a “principal” authorizes a designated “agent” to perform on their behalf. Depending on the language in the power of attorney, a “principal” may grant an “agent” the power to handle everything from writing checks to selling their homes to negotiating insurance policies.
What Makes a POA Valid?
For a POA to be valid, it must be completed in writing and adhere to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act. It must also include these basic requirements:
- Full name, full address, phone number, and signature of the principal
- Full name of the agent
- Date of the agreement
- Powers granted
- The dates that powers begin and end
At least one witness must sign, validating the principal’s signature, and a notary public must sign and date the document. Most importantly, there are specific people who cannot witness the principal’s signature:
- The notary public
- Healthcare providers of the principal
- Relatives of the principal and agent
- The agent
Additionally, all agents and witnesses must be at least 18 years old or the POA is invalid.
Requirements for Real Estate Transactions
Typically, principals do not need to record POAs. However, any agent that is granted the authority to sign a mortgage or deed for a parcel of real estate must have the document recorded at the office of the county recorder and completed in the county where the property is located.
Power of Attorney PDF Sample
The power of attorney (POA) sample below gives “Agent” Mary F Harrison the authority to make financial decisions in the event that “Principal” Gloria R Turner is incapacitated. Mary has the authority to handle issues dealing with Gloria’s property, stocks, insurance, and business.Illinois Power of Attorney (Financial)
3. Reasons to Draft a Power of Attorney
In most cases, an individual drafts a power of attorney to prepare for the unexpected — a fatal accident, sudden medical condition, or other events that render a person unable to understand and handle daily financial transactions. POAs are drafted to ensure property and other assets are handled with the principal’s wishes in mind. It also makes certain that dependents, like spouses and children, have access to insurance, benefits, and are taken care of financially.
Power of attorneys can also be useful when an individual is unavailable to sign paperwork or handle other transactions. It can provide a person with convenience and flexibility.
A copy of the Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney can be found within the state statute governing POAs. Though Illinois does not require individuals to use its form, it recommends that similar language is used when creating a personalized version.
Unless a principal actually crosses out a specific power by drawing a line through it, an agent is authorized to handle:
- Real estate transactions
- Financial institution transactions
- Stock and bond transactions
- Tangible personal property transactions
- Safe deposit box transactions
- Insurance and annuity transactions
- Retirement plan transactions
- Social Security, employment, and military service benefits
- Tax matters
- Claims and litigation
- Commodity and option transactions
- Business operation matters
- Borrowing transactions
- Estate transactions
- All other property transactions
Power Limitations and Additions
Some powers must be specifically expressed in a POA or an agent cannot perform them. A principal must express whether or not an agent has the power to:
- Make gifts
- Exercise powers of appointment
- Name or change beneficiaries or joint tenants
- Revoke or amend any trust
- Receive reasonable compensation for services rendered as agent
A principal also may prohibit or add conditions related to the sale of a specific parcel of real estate or a certain stock. Additionally, a principal may include special rules that restrict an agent’s ability to borrow money from a principal.
4. Types of Power of Attorney Documents
In Illinois there are several kinds of power of attorney documents to choose from.
Durable and Springing POAs
Illinois’ document is a durable POA, which means an agent is authorized to perform the powers listed in the document the day it is signed and continues until the principal dies.
However, the legal agreement may be turned into a “springing” power of attorney, if the principal specifically notes in the document that it is effective upon his/her incapacity. The court may rule or two physicians must certify in writing that a principal is incapacitated.
A “limited” POA, which is also referred to as a special POA, limits an agent’s authority in some noted way. A principal may limit a POA to a single transaction, a certain type of transaction, or for limited period of time. For example, a principal may request an agent sign all business-related documents while he/she is out of the country for a six-week period of time.
5. What’s Important When Choosing an Agent?
The state of Illinois encourages principals to choose wisely when selecting agents. Since a POA may authorize agents to handle many delicate financial matters, it is crucial that the person chosen be trustworthy.
All agents are required to act in good faith, use due care, competence, and diligence, while always working for the benefit of the principal. Also, when an agent signs a power of attorney document, the person is agreeing to adhere to all laws, including keeping a record of all receipts, disbursements, and significant actions the person takes on behalf of a principal.
6. Does a Power of Attorney Address Health Care Decisions?
In Illinois, a general power of attorney does not give an agent the right to make any medical or treatment decisions for a principal. Individuals who want someone to make health care and end-of-life decisions for them must have health care power of attorney documents.
A health care POA must adhere to Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 755, Article 45, Section 4-10. A copy of the health care POA form can be found within the statute, but individuals are permitted to create their own. For a health care POA to be valid, a principal and a witness must sign it, but unlike a general POA, it does not require notarization. Like a general POA, all parties involved must be over 18.