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Barrington Lawyer for Powers of Attorney

Estate Planning Lawyer Serving Inverness, Algonquin, Palatine, and Throughout the Area

Severe illnesses or accidents may occur which render you incapacitated, and unable to make critical decisions for yourself. In these scenarios, you may need another party that is aware of your values and wishes to do so on your behalf. A power of attorney (POA) is one of several estate planning tools, which is a written document that authorizes an agent to perform particular actions for you. Your overall estate plan, which can be developed with a lawyer, may include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, life insurance plans, and more. The law firm of Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, has provided these legal client services for over 25 years.

Durable Power of Attorney

The Illinois Power of Attorney Act was adopted in 1987. According to the Act, the term "durable" refers to the manner in which the power of attorney remains valid even when someone is incapacitated. This allows for an agent to be appointed, as well as a successor agent to make decisions on your behalf. The two classifications of power in the statute are property and healthcare. Upon death, the powers of attorney (POA) are ceased; therefore, further actions after death would be addressed in a will.

General and Property Power of Attorney

Powers of attorney may be either broad or limited in their scope. A general POA provides the agent with considerable latitude to manage property, financial concerns, and possibly medical consent. A property power of attorney appoints the agent to conduct actions and make property and financial decisions outlined in the written delegated powers.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare (POAHC)

Aspects of the POAHC continue to evolve in Illinois. In 2015, the state passed Act 98-113 changing the statutory declaration form to be more simplistic and easier for individuals to interpret. These written documents are often referred to as "advanced directives," and have flexibility in their format, as long as they meet the state's requirements for legality. Healthcare related actions for the agent to execute are likely to reflect an individual's personal values. Illinois law allows individuals the right to decline medical treatments and allows for designation within medical treatment. In addition, the POAHC may appoint successor agents and guardians.

Living Wills and Trusts

A living trust is a common estate planning tool that some attorneys may consider a better option compared to a POA for those with prolonged illnesses. A POA can be used as a supplemental document to a living trust. Many people also execute a Living Will Declaration, which is a statement exclusively intended for the treating physician that clarifies someone's wishes regarding issues of treatment upon imminent death. The Living Will Declaration is provided directly to the doctor when POAHC agents are unavailable.

Possible Healthcare Agent Decisions

There is a host of potential decisions to review with your agent regarding your wishes including:

  • Wishes regarding treatment for pain and suffering
  • Whether you wish to live as long as possible or to avoid prolonged suffering
  • Preference of spending final days at home or in a hospital
  • Religious or spiritual beliefs you would like considered
  • Desires to make organ donations and many others

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to establish preventative written measures to allow for decisions to be exercised according to your intentions. The attorneys at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, have functioned as trusted legal counsel for their clients for three decades concerning issues such as estate planning and elder law. Contact us today at 847-381-8700 to speak with our legal team.

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