Chicago Power of Attorney Lawyer

We've dedicated our firm to family law. Watch a quick video on why:

Stange Law Firm img
Play Video

Chicago Power of Attorney Lawyer

Chicago Power of Attorney

There are times in life when we may be unable to represent ourselves and manage our affairs. Because of something like illness, aging, disability, remote travel, or recovery from a surgery, we might not be able to do something like make sure that our bills are paid and finances are managed. We may also have concerns about being able to make the right medical decisions for ourselves.

If we don’t take precautions to address these things ahead of time, then our medical choices may be left up to family members or medical staff if our family can’t be reached. Our financial management could be left up to someone appointed by the state. Although we may trust these parties, we can’t always be sure that they would represent us as we would ourselves.

Fortunately, there is a way to prepare for these kinds of situations. By having a power of attorney agreement, we can determine who we would like to manage these affairs, make choices on our behalf, and generally direct those decisions.

What a Power of Attorney Does

A power of attorney is basically a document that legally transfers one individual’s right to represent themselves to another person. The scope, though, of those decision-making powers is limited. Typically, a power of attorney is kept within the financial or medical realm and, even within those matters, is further limited by what is written in the agreement. A power of attorney agreement will always describe two parties:

  • The Principal – This is the individual who will assign an agent to represent them, describe what they want the agent to do, and sign the necessary documents
  • The Agent – They are given the power of attorney and must execute it in the interests of the principal, according to the agreement

It is possible to name more than one agent in case either party may be unavailable. However, if the two agents conflict on a decision, then neither of them can act for the principal.

The agents will be limited based on the structure of the power of attorney document. Documents should be heavily personalized to the wishes of the principal, and they often include clauses and situationally specific instructions. This is why it is critical for anyone wishing to prepare a power of attorney document to work with a lawyer. At Stange Law Firm, we understand the importance of a power of attorney document being properly crafted, or else the wishes of the principal might not be followed through as they hoped. We can help you make sure that the document properly reflects your desires.

What a Power of Attorney Does Not Do

No matter how thorough a power of attorney document is, there are some limitations that everyone involved should be aware of before signing off on anything. These limitations include the following:

  • Because agents are given some decision-making authority, they may end up acting, in some instances, in ways that the principal wouldn’t have wanted. A power of attorney is about trusting an individual to make decisions, but that’s no guarantee of the kind of decisions that they will make.
  • The scope of an agent’s oversight and authority does not extend beyond the principal.
  • An agent is prohibited from altering the principal’s will.
  • Agents do not have ownership of the principal’s property.
  • The agreement must be done on the proper forms.
  • The power of attorney can only be transferred to another agent with the principal’s consent.

Who Can Be Named an Agent?

There are three general qualifications for someone to be eligible to be named as an agent on a power of attorney:

  • They must be over 18 years of age.
  • They must understand the requirements and legal implications of the role.
  • They must demonstrate that they have the ability to make the decisions (medical, financial, or property) in the place of the principal.

Some other considerations that you may want to factor in are the reliability, trustworthiness, and geographical location of the individual you wish to name as an agent. It may also be worthwhile to name a successor agent in case something happens to your preferred agent.

Illinois Power of Attorney Requirements

For a power of attorney form to be recognized by the state of Illinois, it must meet the legal criteria that the state requires for a power of attorney. These requirements include:

  • The principal’s signature
  • A designated agent and the agent’s powers
  • A demonstration of the principal’s sound mind when signing the agreement
  • Signatures performed in front of a witness and notary public
  • Specific statutory language
  • Other requirements specific to either a financial or a medical power of attorney

Notarization and Witness Requirements

The state of Illinois requires that a power of attorney be signed in the presence of a public notary and at least one witness. If you want a power of attorney in Chicago, you will need to fulfill this requirement. However, there are some limitations around who can and cannot be your witness, as it can present a conflict of interest if a witness has some ulterior motive. The following parties cannot act as witnesses for your signing a power of attorney document:

  • Anyone named as an agent or as a successor agent in the power of attorney document
  • Neither you nor any of your agents’ or successor agents’ parents, siblings, children, or grandchildren — the spouses of any of these parties are also ineligible
  • Your doctor or their relatives
  • Your mental health service provider (therapist, counselor, etc.) or their relatives
  • A patient at a health care facility, the owner of the facility, the operator of the facility, or any of their relatives

Types of Powers of Attorney

There are a few different types of powers of attorney that are available in Illinois:

  • Limited Power of Attorney – Generally applying to a financial power of attorney, this grants the agent the ability to make certain transactions over a specified period of time
  • Durable Power of Attorney – Grants broad powers to the agent and continues if the principal becomes incapacitated
  • General Power of Attorney – Grants broad powers to the agent but ends if the principal becomes incapacitated
  • Financial Power of Attorney – Grants the agent the ability to make specified financial decisions on behalf of the principal
  • Medical Power of Attorney – Grants the agent the ability to make specified medical decisions on behalf of the principal
  • Minor Power of Attorney – Appoints an agent to make decisions for a minor if a guardian is unavailable
  • Tax Power of Attorney – Allows an agent to file taxes on behalf of the principal
  • Vehicle Power of Attorney – Allows an agent to register and title vehicles on behalf of the principle

Starting and Ending a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney agreement should define how the agreement is triggered to take effect. There are two ways in which you can trigger a power of attorney:

  • Immediately – Once all the parties have signed on to the agreement and all legal requirements are met, the power of attorney can take effect.
  • Triggered – The agreement can outline a set of criteria that must be met before the power of attorney agreement takes effect. However, there can be issues with this method surrounding HIPAA/Privacy concerns, what is considered as incapacity, and their delaying your agent’s ability to take action in your stead.

There are a few different ways that a power of attorney can come to an end:

  • The death of the principal will end the power of attorney, and an estate plan will replace it.
  • The agent is unavailable, but naming a successor may minimize this risk. However, if they also are not available, the power of attorney will automatically end.
  • If the principal is of sound mind, they may revoke the power of attorney at any time.
  • A bank or other third party might also be concerned about fraud or abuse and reject the power of attorney.
  • In rare cases, the courts may invalidate a power of attorney. Usually, this requires that the court finds that the principal was either not mentally competent or the victim of fraud or undue influence at the time of signing.
  • In cases where the spouse of the principal has power of attorney, the agreement automatically ends with divorce. However, if there is a successor agent named, then that person will assume the role of agent.

Get Help Drafting Your Power of Attorney Agreement

A power of attorney document can be tremendously helpful. It gives someone the ability to foresee situations when they won’t be able to make decisions for themselves and allows them to choose who should represent them. It gives people a level of control over a situation that they normally would have no control or influence over. 

However, to make sure that someone’s desires are truly represented, it’s critical that a power of attorney document be well-crafted. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced lawyer like those from Stange Law Firm. We have the experience to know what a thorough power of attorney document should look like. We know what questions to ask and things you may want to consider that are often forgotten or left out of power of attorney agreements. If you are looking to assign a power of attorney in Chicago, make sure that you contact us today.

Cook County (Rolling Meadows), Illinois Office (773-453-9390) | 1600 Golf Road, Suite 1264, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (by appointment only)


Helpful Information Regarding High Net Worth Divorce From our Webpage

To learn more about our work in the area of high net worth divorce, please follow the links below:
Do You Need a Last Will and Testament or an Estate Plan?
Everybody should consider making a will. However, a will is about much more than the division of a sizable estate, and making a will is not something that those with substantial assets.
Multi-state Trust Attorneys in the in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska
As Stange Law Firm, PC, we can determine the right type of trust for your needs and objectives and select the type of trust that best protects your interests.
Valuing professional practices and businesses
Valuing a professional practice can be extremely difficult because much of the value is in the individual's contribution, not in merchandise or interests that can be easily divided. If you have questions, we have answers.
Pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s
Missouri law significantly affects the division of retirement savings accounts. If many of your assets are in IRAs or 401(k)s, we can talk with you about your options.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
QDROs create or recognize the existence of an alternate payee's right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable under a retirement plan. We can explain what this means for you.
Divorce Tax Issues
For some, they can have significant questions and concerns about how getting divorced might effect them from a tax perspective. We can help ensure that clients can get the tax advice they need from tax professionals.
Maintaining Lifestyle
Many individuals have spent their entire life working hard in order to maintain a lifestyle that they have sought out. We can help individuals going through divorce ensure that they are put in the best financial position possible after a divorce.
Business Owners
Many individuals have spent their whole life trying to create a successful business or they have assisted their spouse build up this interest. It can be stressful when that business interest becomes part of a divorce proceeding. However, we an help ensure that a business interests are fairly evaluated.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Prior to entering into a marriage, or after the wedding date, many individuals are interested in putting together a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to ensure that there are not lengthy and contentious divorce proceedings later if the marriage ends in divorce In these instances, we can help.
Farm Divorce
In certain cases, parties going through a divorce may own a family farm. This can result in the farm itself, equipment, livestock and other valuable assets being put in play in a divorce. We can help you if this is the case.
Stocks and Bonds
Many married couples also have significant sums in stocks and bonds. It's vital to work with an attorney to have an accounting of what is out there and to ensure it is properly addressed in family court.
Vocational Examination
The income producing potential of a husband and wife can be an important issue in a spousal support or child support case. A vocational examination can be useful in many of these cases where the current income of a party does not appropriately reflect what they could make.
Real Estate Portfolios
Real estate can be an important issue in divorce cases where the parties own rental property and other valuable real estate. We can work with parties in these types of cases to make sure these assets are property valuated and apportioned.
Delayed Compensation
In some situations, a party may be compensated through delayed compensation. This is an important area that should not be over-looked in a divorce.
Overseas Assets
Overseas assets can be significant issue in certain cases. It is vital that you have an attorney who understands how to address this issue
SLF Icon
Serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa and Beyond in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

From our webpage, you can also read articles about family law, view informational videos, seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application or view support calculators for MissouriIllinois and Kansas.

If you are looking to find and hire a child custody lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation at any of our convenient locations.


Prenuptial Agreements Line by Line

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Family Law Illinois

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Military Family Law

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Protect Yourself By Understanding Your Options and Knowing Your Rights


SLF Icon


Stange Law Firm, PC

120 S. Central Avenue, Suite 450

St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191
Group 144


Contact Our Team

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Family Law Legal Services At Your Fingertips


When you choose us, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or service. You get the resources of a large divorce and family law firm AND the attentive service of a local attorney.