A Power of Attorney in Illinois gives another person (the “ agent”) an ability to make health care or financial/property decisions on your behalf if you (the “principal”) become incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own.
Why are Power of Attorneys important?
POAs are an important part of an individual’s overall plan for their health and financial well being as it is too late to choose an agent once an individual becomes incapacitated and needs a POA. If you do not have a POA for health care, your family and your doctors will make health care decisions for you. The doctor must ask your family and friends about what to do, in the following order:
- Adult children
- Close family friends
- Guardian of the estate
You might disagree with the decision your family makes. Or, your family members may not agree on how to handle your medical care. A POA for health care give you control over how decisions are made for you. The agent you choose will carry out your wishes.
In the case of financial estate management, the absence of a POA can lead to time consuming and expensive remedies for family members if proper planning has not been completed. Generally, if a person has not assigned an agent to act on their behalf, control of financial management reverts to the state.
How long does getting a Power of Attorney take?
Typically, an hour meeting with an attorney is adequate time to execute the POA documents. The documents should be notarized and this is something HPHLAC can do at its offices.
How often does the Highland Park- Highwood Legal Aid Clinic have Power of Attorney clinics?
HPHLAC offers POA clinics about once a month at surrounding community senior centers or other interested locales. In the future, HPHLAC may be able to execute these documents in their office by appointment.
I want more information about attending a Health Care and/or a Financial Power of Attorney Clinic! Where do I go?
Please call the Highland Park- Highwood Legal Aid Clinic at (847) 737-4042 for more information!