Durable and springing powers of attorney can assist you and your family in times of great need – when you cannot make decisions for yourself anymore. These two kinds of powers of attorney go into effect at different times, but both stay in place if you become incapacitated to act on your own behalf.
What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Illinois?
A durable power of attorney goes into effect as soon as you sign it. It is a legally binding document that allows an agent that you choose to make decisions for you and in your place. Unlike a basic power of attorney, which is not effective if you are incapacitated, a durable power of attorney contains special language making it effective even if you become incapacitated. It also continues operating if you later regain your capacity.
Capacity in Illinois is a legal term referring to someone’s ability to make decisions for himself or herself. Whether someone is incapacitated depends on the circumstances of the specific situation at hand. Someone might have capacity in one area but not in another. For example, you might have the capacity to make health care decisions but be unable to handle your own finances. Powers of attorney can cover specific types of decisions, allowing the agent to act for you in certain financial matters, just for healthcare choices, or in some other area of your life.
What Is a Springing Power of Attorney in Illinois?
Unlike a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney only goes into effect once you lose capacity to make the types of decisions listed in the legal document. At that point, your agent must take over in making the decisions and acting in your place. In other words, the springing power of attorney “springs” into action to help you if you lack capacity.
Springing powers of attorney help people who want to retain control over all decision-making while they can. When it is time for an agent to step in, he or she can pay the bills, talk to the doctors, or keep the business’s doors open. Without a power of attorney, an incapacitated person might run into financial trouble, be unable to articulate which types of medical treatment he or she consents to receive, and have other day-to-day issues.
Either a springing or durable power of attorney, when properly prepared in advance, can greatly assist you in a time of need. Talk to a local Illinois lawyer to figure out which type is best for you.
Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.