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What Are the Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney?

Posted on in Estate Planning

IL estate lawyerFor many people, the process of creating an estate plan will involve decisions about how a person’s assets will be passed to their heirs after their death. However, estate planning may also address a person’s needs throughout the remainder of their life, including ensuring that they will receive the proper medical and personal care and that their finances will be managed correctly. One way of doing so is through durable powers of attorney. By understanding how these agreements can be used and the benefits they provide, a family can make sure a person’s wishes will be followed, no matter what happens.

Reasons to Create Durable Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Finances

A power of attorney is an agreement in which a person (known as the “principal”) will give someone else (known as their “agent”) the authority to make decisions for them. A power of attorney for healthcare will address issues related to the medical care a person receives and other personal needs, while a power of attorney for finances or property will address issues related to a person’s income, assets, financial resources, and expenses. Powers of attorney are considered to be “durable” if they contain provisions that state that the agent’s authority will remain in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. That is, if a person becomes unconscious due to an illness or suffers from dementia or other mental health issues that affect their ability to make their wishes known, their agent will continue to have the authority to make decisions on their behalf.

Benefits of a durable power of attorney include:

  • Avoiding uncertainty - In some cases, family members may be unsure about what their loved one would have wanted, and they may disagree about the appropriate medical treatments or other forms of care. By creating a power of attorney that details their wishes, a person can make sure their loved ones will not have any questions about how to meet their needs.
  • Ensuring that a person can receive the proper care - A healthcare power of attorney will give an agent the ability to speak to medical providers and make decisions about the types of treatment that a person will or will not receive. A financial power of attorney will allow an agent to address any issues related to a person’s money and property. By granting this authority to a trusted loved one, a person can make sure their needs will be met throughout the rest of their life.
  • Eliminating the need for legal proceedings - If a person becomes incapacitated or suffers from health issues that affect their ability to care for themselves, and they do not have a power of attorney in place, their loved ones may need to take legal action to establish guardianship in order to be able to make decisions on their behalf. By creating powers of attorney, a person can make sure their family will be able to avoid the time and expense involved in these legal proceedings while ensuring that they will have the care and support they need.

Contact Our DuPage County Power of Attorney Lawyers

If you want to address issues related to end-of-life care or ensure that family members will be able to provide for the needs of a loved one, Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC can help you understand your options for creating durable powers of attorney. Contact our Wheaton estate planning attorneys at 630-665-2500 to set up a consultation and discuss these issues.

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2113&ChapterID=60

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/101514/power-attorney-do-you-need-one.asp

https://thelearninglab.us/durable-power-of-attorney/

 

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