Power of Attorney & Advanced Directives

Power of Attorney & Advance Directive

Oak Brook Legal Attorneys at Law provides comprehensive, approachable estate planning services. Regardless of where you are in the process, please call us for a personal consultation. Our number is (630) 325-5557.

Most people think of estate planning in terms of wills, probate court, inheritance and so on. These are concerns that arise after death. However, a robust estate plan usually also considers what could happen during your lifetime.

A Difficult Problem: Loss of Decision-making Power

An important element of most estate plans is control over decision-making. The situation could arise that you are unable to carry out your own wishes, but are still legally alive. In this scenario, you probably want someone in control to whom you can reasonably entrust important decisions about your life and property.

A Possible Solution: Advance Planning

You will need to do more than discuss your wishes because, by default, the law often limits the power people have to make decisions on your behalf. The most common — and usually the most efficient — solutions for this problem are powers of attorney and advance directives.

What is a power of attorney?

Attorneys are students of the law, but they are also people you engage to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is a document that lets someone act as your representative. There are two types in Illinois: property and healthcare.

Generally speaking, people cannot manage your finances without a POA for property. Similarly, they usually cannot make medical decisions for you without a POA for healthcare.

These instruments could be as broad or as narrow of a definition as you like, with some legal constraints. Here are some general points about the power of attorney:

  • They transfer responsibility: You, the principal, transfer specific rights and responsibilities to the other person, your agent.
  • They are elective: The person you name may choose not to assume that role.
  • They are customizable: Principals can set expiration dates, name secondary agents, limit the power to specific functions and limit agents’ ability to consent, among other things.
  • They are restrictive: Agents have a duty to follow strict guidelines directing what they can and cannot do. Agents must act for the principal’s benefit.
  • They hold agents accountable: Victims of POA fraud and abuse have various options to pursue when attempting to remedy the situation.

What is an advance directive?

Advance directives are instructions you provide in advance of a challenging situation. There are four types in Illinois:

  • Healthcare powers of attorney
  • Living wills
  • Mental health treatment preference declarations
  • DNR/POLST (Orders communicating your preferences for resuscitation and life-sustaining treatment)

Advance directive planning includes a human element. We help our clients make decisions, draft documents and communicate their legal wishes to family members in an approachable, compassionate manner.

Complete Estate Planning Services

Oak Brook Legal Attorneys at Law helps clients align their estate plans with their own personal wishes, religious obligations and business goals. This includes comprehensive analysis and customized drafting of all types of advance directives and powers of attorney. Call us at (630) 325-5557 to begin.

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    3908 N. Cass Avenue
    Westmont, IL 60559

    Phone Number

    (630) 325-5557

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