The Illinois Powers of Attorney Act governs how parties may enter into agency agreements whereby the principal, or person granting the powers, delegates to his agent certain abilities to act on the principal’s behalf. These abilities include the power to enter into legally binding contracts, the power to make medical decisions, and the power to handle the principal’s money and affairs. The statute contains a form to use as a template.
Accept the invitation to act as an agent for a principal. To get a power of attorney, you must be asked to become an agent for a person. Typically, your spouse or a close family member will ask you to accept the responsibilities under the power of attorney form. If you accept this invitation, you and the principal must enter into a written Power of Attorney Agreement.
Ask the principal whether he or she intends for you to act as his or her agent in matters involving property, health care, or both. This will determine the scope of your duties and abilities as the agent under this agreement.
Draft the Power of Attorney form. This should be done with the principal and the principal should have control over what powers he or she is bestowing upon you. Use the language contained in the Illinois Powers of Attorney Act (see References and Resources) and the Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care form (see Resources).
Remove any provision in the statutory forms that you do not wish to accept or that will not apply to you. For example, in the property short form, the statute has provisions enabling the agent to access safe deposit boxes. If you do not want this responsibility, or if the principal does not want you to have that responsibility, do not include that provision in the Power of Attorney you are drafting.
State how long the Power of Attorney is to remain effective. The default statutory language in Illinois is that the agency will last until the principal’s death. If you or the principal wish to limit the agreement to a shorter time span, indicate this in your form.
Bring the document to a notary public in Illinois (See Resources). Sign and date the document in front of the notary and have him notarize the document. Keep a copy of the agreement as proof that you have the principal’s authority to act on his behalf.
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