Many individuals in Illinois choose to have a power of attorney as part of their estate planning. This document can detail provisions and limitations for when and how a third party can make decisions for an individual.
There are many reasons for establishing an agent to make decisions on an individual’s behalf.
Future planning reasons
The Illinois General Assembly states that the Power of Attorney Act requires an individual to empower a third party to make decisions about health care, property, personal matters and finances. The main reasons for establishing a durable power of attorney are for times of incompetency, disability and incapacity.
In some cases, an individual chooses a third party that the court deems incapable or incompetent to perform the duties as outlined in the document. The court may then choose an agent for the individual separate from the original designated person.
Help during emergencies
Daily Caring recommends a power of attorney for all adults regardless of age. Legal adults are the only ones capable of making serious decisions for themselves. A medical emergency may leave any person over the age of 18 incapable of making those decisions. Elderly individuals are even more likely to experience a health emergency and need help with making decisions.
Many individuals have both a financial and medical power of attorney to separate health concerns from financial information. Access to an individual’s personal information in an emergency speeds up the decision-making process.
Without these documents in place, a representative must go to court to obtain permission to make these decisions. In certain cases, an unknown third party may make these decisions.