Illinois residents can create financial and medical powers of attorney, allowing an agent to handle their affairs. These two types of powers of attorney have similar formats but serve different purposes.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney allows a person of your choice (called an agent) the ability to make decisions and take actions for you. In Illinois, powers of attorney can take effect only when you are incapacitated (unable to effectively make decisions for yourself) or whenever you would like. You create a power of attorney by signing a legal document that identifies the agent, the powers that he or she will have, and when the powers go into effect.
What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?
A financial power of attorney allows your agent to make decisions and take actions related to your financial affairs and money. The Illinois law governing financial powers of attorney lists some examples of the transactions that the agent might handle:
- Real estate transactions
- Financial institution transactions
- Government benefits
- Business operations
An agent named in a financial power of attorney could also handle litigation, estate transactions, and more. You can exclude certain categories of powers in the document too, or you can give the agent broader powers.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney allows your agent to make decisions and take actions as to your medical care and treatment. The Illinois law governing medical powers of attorney lists some examples of the transactions that the agent might handle:
- Deciding whether to undergo medical care or decline treatment
- Agreeing or declining admission to a hospital or treatment facility
- Having access to medical records
- Executing or making decisions about end-of-life care, organ donation, cremation, and burial
As you can see, agents for both financial and medical powers of attorney make some very important decisions. If you plan to sign a power of attorney, ask a local lawyer for help preparing one and selecting an appropriate agent.
Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.