Welcome to the EPAC Corner! We are pleased to bring you this content from the Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. If you have any questions about the information below or the EPAC group, please contact Community Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A power of attorney for property authorizes a trusted person (your agent) to manage financial matters on your behalf. This power of attorney is only valid while you are living, so it is not a substitute for a Will.
Two simple examples of the use of a power of attorney are to allow your agent to have access to bank accounts to pay bills or to sell your vehicle due to a health decline that makes it impossible or impractical for the owner to continue owning the vehicle.
An important rule regarding a power of attorney is that your agent must always act in your best interest. The law presumes that charitable gifts are not in your best interest in the event of your disability. Therefore, if you become disabled, your agent will have no authority to continue to make recurring charitable gifts on your behalf. This could include contributions to a religious organization or charitable organization such as the DeKalb County Community Foundation.
The solution is to add a provision to your power of attorney to permit the agent to continue making gifts on your behalf and with your assets even if you become physically or mentally unable to make those gifts yourself.
If you already have a power of attorney and want to ensure your agent has charitable giving power, review your document to look for references to charitable giving powers. The Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Property that the Illinois legislature publishes does not include charitable giving powers unless such power has been added to the form.
– Matthew L. Brown, local attorney and member of the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee
Established in 2020, the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) is comprised of local professionals providing estate planning services, including Attorneys, Trust Officers, CPAs, Wealth Advisors, and Insurance Agents. The purpose of the EPAC is to raise awareness and understanding of the Community Foundation as a resource for professional advisors and their clients, assist with efforts to deliver effective estate planning education to the general public, and to notify estate planning professionals on topics relevant to the intersection of estate planning and philanthropy.