Estate Planning: Power of Attorney

Illinois, by statute, allows you to designate, by a written power of attorney (POA), who you wish to have power of attorney over your affairs.  There are two types of power of attorneys in Illinois:  POA for property and POA for health care.

Power of Attorney for Property

The POA for property allows you to designate a person to make decisions regarding your property and finances.  Unless specifically restricted, the person you nominate can pay bills, access bank accounts, sell real estate, apply for you to receive benefits, etc.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

The POA for health care allows you to designate a person to make decisions regarding your medical treatment.  Certain restrictions or instructions can be included.  Typically you would elect your preference regarding life prolonging medical treatment for the event you are unable to survive without it.

A power of attorney usually is triggered upon the happening of a specific event, such as a person losing their capacity to make their own decisions.  You can also elect to have a power of attorney go into effect immediately, or upon the occurrence of a certain date.  This is common for the POA for property, which enables your designee to sign on your behalf at a real estate closing or other such financial transactions that you are unavailable or unable to attend.  You can revoke a POA at any time and it automatically terminates upon your death.

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