Tag: power of attorney

Conveying End-of-Life Wishes in an Estate Plan

Conveying end-of-life wishes in an estate plan is an extremely important goal for many people. Unfortunately, having a conversation with family members may not be enough to ensure that your wishes are carried out. By writing your wishes into your estate plan, you gain greater peace of mind.

Where Should You Include End-of-Life Wishes?

In Illinois, you can make four different kinds of advance directives that include various types of end-of-life wishes:

  • Health care power of attorney
  • Living will
  • Mental health treatment preference declaration
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Which Kinds of Wishes Can You Include?

The health care power of attorney can include instructions for your agent regarding when you want life-saving treatments and when you want them ended, when you want to refuse some kinds of treatments, anatomical gifts, and disposal of remains.

The living will tells your doctors when you want death-delaying procedures used. It usually applies only if you have a terminal condition and are unable to state your wishes to the doctors. The DNR/POLST tells your doctors whether you want to be resuscitated and your wishes for life-sustaining treatment.

The mental health treatment preference declaration allows to you say whether you want psychiatric medications or shock treatments, if you are unable to state your wishes yourself. You also can specify whether you want to be admitted to a mental health facility treatment.

How to Learn More

If you would like to learn more about including end-of-life wishes in your estate plan, contact a local estate planning attorney for help making your plan. An attorney can ensure that your estate plan is legally effective and binding on your family and doctors.

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.

Durable and Springing Powers of Attorney in Illinois

Durable and springing powers of attorney can assist you and your family in times of great need – when you cannot make decisions for yourself anymore. These two kinds of powers of attorney go into effect at different times, but both stay in place if you become incapacitated to act on your own behalf.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Illinois?

A durable power of attorney goes into effect as soon as you sign it. It is a legally binding document that allows an agent that you choose to make decisions for you and in your place. Unlike a basic power of attorney, which is not effective if you are incapacitated, a durable power of attorney contains special language making it effective even if you become incapacitated. It also continues operating if you later regain your capacity.

Capacity in Illinois is a legal term referring to someone’s ability to make decisions for himself or herself. Whether someone is incapacitated depends on the circumstances of the specific situation at hand. Someone might have capacity in one area but not in another. For example, you might have the capacity to make health care decisions but be unable to handle your own finances. Powers of attorney can cover specific types of decisions, allowing the agent to act for you in certain financial matters, just for healthcare choices, or in some other area of your life.

What Is a Springing Power of Attorney in Illinois?

Unlike a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney only goes into effect once you lose capacity to make the types of decisions listed in the legal document. At that point, your agent must take over in making the decisions and acting in your place. In other words, the springing power of attorney “springs” into action to help you if you lack capacity.

Springing powers of attorney help people who want to retain control over all decision-making while they can. When it is time for an agent to step in, he or she can pay the bills, talk to the doctors, or keep the business’s doors open. Without a power of attorney, an incapacitated person might run into financial trouble, be unable to articulate which types of medical treatment he or she consents to receive, and have other day-to-day issues.

Either a springing or durable power of attorney, when properly prepared in advance, can greatly assist you in a time of need. Talk to a local Illinois lawyer to figure out which type is best for you.

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.

Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney in Illinois

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
  • Taxes
  • 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.

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