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Posted on in Estate Planning

estate planning lawyerOf the different estate planning tools that a person can use to ensure that their wishes will be followed during their life and after their death, powers of attorney can be some of the most powerful and beneficial. When a person creates a power of attorney agreement, they will name someone who will have the legal authorization to make certain types of decisions on their behalf. In many cases, a power of attorney will be “durable,” ensuring that a person’s wishes will be followed correctly if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

What Makes a Power of Attorney Durable?

The person who creates a power of attorney will give another person, known as their “agent,” the authority to make certain types of decisions. These decisions will depend on the type of power of attorney that is created. A power of attorney for healthcare will address decisions related to a person’s medical care and personal needs, and an agent may be able to address issues such as the forms of treatment a person will or will not receive, whether they should be admitted to a hospital or mental health facility, and whether they should receive life-sustaining treatment if they are terminally ill. A power of attorney for property will address financial decisions, and an agent may be able to manage a person’s income and assets, make purchases or investments, pay bills and expenses, or manage a business.

In some cases, a power of attorney may be created with a start and end date. These types of agreements may be used in cases where a person gives their agent the power to enter into financial transactions on their behalf or in situations where a person wants to have their agent make medical decisions for them when they are undergoing surgery or other forms of major medical treatment. However, durable powers of attorney are used in many cases, and these types of agreements will continue to apply if a person becomes incapacitated. 


Cook County Estate Planning and Probate attorneyA last will and testament can be crucial for a person of any age. A will makes decisions about issues such as how a person’s property will be distributed to their beneficiaries, who they would like to be the guardian of their minor children, how their funeral and burial arrangements should be handled, and any other last wishes they want to address. However, there are some situations where a person may die without having a will in place. In these cases, family members and other loved ones will need to understand how the person’s final affairs will be handled.

Intestate Succession in Illinois

If a person had no valid will at the time of their death, this is known as dying “intestate,” and the laws of intestate succession will be used to determine how their assets will be distributed to their heirs. In Illinois, these laws state that:

  • If a person was married and had no children or other descendants, their spouse will receive their entire estate.

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