Chicago Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Directives Lawyer

Planning for future healthcare is a key aspect of estate planning. It is important to understand your legal rights regarding medical decisions if you become incapacitated due to age or illness. In Chicago and throughout Illinois, residents can create an advanced healthcare directive detailing how to make their future medical decisions if they cannot. Both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Medical Directive are crucial to ensuring your medical and financial wishes are followed if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Knowing your rights and understanding these legal documents can protect you and your loved ones in a medical emergency.

At Peck Ritchey, LLC, our elder law attorneys can help safeguard your wishes for the future with clear and actionable directives that protect your rights. Call us today at (855) 328-5787 to learn more through a free consultation

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to appoint an agent or attorney-in-fact to make decisions and handle their financial affairs. Some matters the agent might handle include managing bank accounts, paying bills, taking care of properties, and making investments. An agent might also manage your medical affairs if you are unable to do so due to disability or illness. The document should include specific language which guides how the agent or attorney-in-fact should handle your affairs.

In Illinois, you must sign a Durable Power of Attorney in the presence of a witness who is not related to you. Also, note that the Durable Power of Attorney ends upon your death unless the document specifically states otherwise. A Durable Power of Attorney can provide peace of mind. You know that if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness, your designated agent can manage your affairs on your behalf. 

What is a Medical Directive?

A Medical Directive, also known as an Advanced Healthcare Directive or Living Will, is a document that allows you to make advance decisions about your medical care if you become incapacitated or unable to communicate your wishes. This document allows you to specify the type of medical care you want if you can no longer express your wishes. It includes specific instructions about treatments you want and don’t want, such as life-sustaining treatment, pain management, and organ donation. It is important to keep your Medical Directive up to date, especially if your health situation changes or you move to another state. 

Your Medical Directive should also designate a Medical Agent, who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself. You should choose someone you trust, who knows you well enough to make the decisions in your best interest. Having a Medical Directive in place is essential for any individual who wants to have control over their medical care even when they cannot make their wishes known. By creating a Medical Directive ahead of time, you can ensure that your wishes will be respected if you become incapacitated.

Types of Medical Directives

When making decisions about future medical care, it is crucial to have the right legal documents in place. Medical directives are an important part of this process. There are several types of medical directives available in Chicago, each with different purposes and levels of detail. Here are some of the most common: 

  • Living Will: A living will is a document that outlines your wishes regarding your medical care and treatment if you become terminally ill or are in a persistent vegetative state. This document informs your healthcare provider of how to handle treatments that may keep you alive against your wishes. 
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: This document appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. This person is known as your “proxy” or “agent” and can be anyone you trust to make these decisions according to your wishes. 
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR): A DNR is a type of medical directive that states that you do not want to be resuscitated if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. 

By understanding the different types of medical directives available in Chicago, you can ensure that you have the proper documents in place so that people can respect your wishes regarding medical care if you become incapacitated.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Medical Directive?

Your medical wishes may not be followed in case of a medical emergency or incapacity. Doctors will take measures to keep you alive if you become seriously ill or injured. If you become mentally incapacitated, you may be appointed a healthcare surrogate. Under Illinois law, two doctors must declare you mentally incapacitated before a surrogate will be appointed. The surrogate could be your spouse, adult child, parent, brother or sister, an adult grandchild, a close friend, or your estate’s guardian. 

How Can a Chicago Elder Law Attorney Help

A Chicago elder law attorney can provide valuable assistance with a durable power of attorney and medical directive matters. They can ensure that you have the appropriate documents to protect your interests if you become incapacitated due to age or illness. A qualified attorney can also provide guidance on managing your health care decisions, estate planning, and other legal issues related to end-of-life planning. Furthermore, they can review your documents to determine if they are adequate and whether they should update them to reflect any changes in the law or your situation. With the right legal representation, you can be sure that your wishes are honored, and your rights are protected.

Speak With a Chicago Power of Attorney and Medical Directives Lawyer Today

If you are interested in learning more about how a Chicago Power of Attorney and Medical Directives lawyer can help you, contact Peck Ritchey, LLC today. Our team of experienced elder law attorneys is committed to providing you with the legal advice and support needed to protect your future. To learn more about our services or to get started on your case, call us at (855) 328-5787 to schedule an initial consultation.