Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document through which you, as the “principal,” give another person, as your “agent,” authorization to make decisions and act on your behalf. Despite the document’s name, the person who is authorized does not have to be an attorney. The person entrusted with a power of attorney is simply an authorized agent, whose powers are defined in the legal document that grants them. Powers of attorney can be useful for people who may be traveling and want to empower someone to handle their financial affairs while they are gone. The are also useful estate planning tools which can specify who should make your health care and financial decisions if you are ill or incapacitated, and unable to make those decisions on your own.
One of the most vivid real-world examples of how a power of attorney for health care can be useful is the Terri Schiavo case. In that case, Terri had a debilitating heart attack, suffered brain damage, and became comatose. She remained in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, while her husband and her parents battled in court over who had the right to make the decision whether or not to keep her alive. Ultimately, a judge had to make a life or death decision in her case.
Having a power of attorney for health care decisions can completely avoid such a nightmarish scenario. You can designate a specific person to make all medical decisions, including end-of-life decisions, thereby avoiding a potentially awful situation where different family members may have different opinions on what is best for you. You can also specify how you wish decisions to be made.
If you are interested in empowering someone else to act on your behalf, whether in financial matters, health-care decisions, or other areas, we can help you understand your options, draft the necessary documents, and make sure that those documents are prepared in accordance with Illinois law.
Powers of attorney can be broad or limited, depending on the needs of the people involved. They can be as broad as giving another person the power to make all financial or health-care related decisions on your behalf; on the other hand, they may authorize an agent only to undertake one particular action—for example, to sell a house or complete a business transaction.
If you are considering giving another person power of attorney over financial or health care decisions in your life, you should discuss your circumstances and your needs with an experienced attorney. At Kollias & Giese, P.C., we have helped many clients understand the various options available to them and select the best way to meet their needs. If the power of attorney is the best fit for your situation, we will listen carefully to your needs and put our skills and experience to work in drafting clear, effective documents that truly express your wishes and protect your interests.
Kollias & Giese, P.C. offers a free 30-minute initial consultation: to schedule one, please call us at (630) 407-1200, or complete our online intake form.