Elder Law Practice Areas

Powers of Attorney/ Living Wills

A power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint an individual to act as your agent on financial matters should you ever become incapacitated.  The powers can be as broad or limited as you want them to be.  Illinois separates financial and health care duties by outlining in the statutes a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Power of Attorney for Property.

In each document, you appoint an agent to represent your interests with regard to decisions involving either your health care or your property.  You may also appoint back-up agents in the event your primary agent becomes unable or unwilling to act. 

If you do not have a power of attorney and you become incapacitated, then someone (generally a family member) would have to bring a guardianship proceeding in order to be able to make decisions with regard to your health care and finances.  Such a procedure involves bringing the courts into your private matters, substantial legal expenses and time involved in obtaining guardianship.  The power of attorney is an effective way to avoid this situation. 

Every individual, regardless of age, faces this question. If you plan now, you can make sure you get the kind of care you want, and relieve your family of burdensome decisions.

To discuss Powers of Attorney, Living Will or other elder law issues with an elder law attorney, contact the Elder Law Center.