Powers of Attorney

This is Dial Law with information on powers of attorney in Illinois. If you are not a resident of Illinois, we suggest you contact your local county bar association.

A power of attorney is a written document authorizing a person to act as your agent. Your agent under a power of attorney is called your attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney is used for a variety of reasons. Two common reasons to use a power of attorney are if you are concerned that: (1) you may become ill or disabled and unable to give directions regarding your medical care; and (2) by reason of illness or disability, you may be unable to conduct your day-to-day affairs such as paying bills, depositing checks, filing tax returns, etc.

Illinois law provides for two kinds of power of attorney.

The first kind of power of attorney is power of attorney for health care. Under this power of attorney you give your agent the power to make decisions concerning your medical care, including types of treatment selected or refused, admission to hospitals or nursing care facilities, and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. The Illinois from has blanks that you can initial to indicate if and when you want life-sustaining treatment withdrawn. The power of attorney for health care may be limited or broad in scope, as you specify.

The second kind of power of attorney is a power of attorney for property. Under a property power of attorney you empower your agent or attorney to engage in all transactions on your behalf specified by the language in the power of attorney. The power of attorney can be very broad and cover any possible transaction--or can be narrowly limited only to certain situations you choose.

You should be cautious about your choice of agent and in defining the agent's powers, because you are bound by all acts of the agent performed within the limits set forth in your power of attorney.

Both kinds of powers of attorney remain in effect during the period of time specified by you in the power, or until revoked.

If you want to revoke a health care power of attorney, you should send a written notice to your physician or other health care provider. The notice revoking the property power of attorney should be written and served on all persons or business establishments with whom your agent is dealing.