What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Going through or watching someone go through a decline in mental faculties can be an incredibly difficult process, but it is often a natural part of aging. Entering this phase of life without having a plan in place can make it even more frightening. For this reason, the Chicago attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC, recommend that individuals that are beginning to experience a decline in mental faculties seek out an attorney to help make a plan for the future. Among the most common issues our attorneys are asked to help with is the creation of a durable power of attorney. These documents serve to clearly appoint specific individuals who will be allowed to act on your behalf in regards to your healthcare and finances should you ever become unable to do so yourself.

Two Types of Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney, also known as non-durable, is different from a durable power of attorney in that it will automatically expire when you become mentally or physically incapacitated. A non-durable generally appoints an agent to act as the principal’s legal representative when the principal is unable to be present. In order to ensure that you are well taken care of even after you have lost mental faculties, you need to ensure that your powers of attorney are durable. There are two types of durable power of attorneys to be aware of:

  • Medical Power of Attorney: allows you to appoint an agent who will be ultimately responsible for making all decisions related to your health and well-being.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: appoints an agent who will be responsible for handling your finances. He or she will be able to pay your bills, manage your Social Security checks, file taxes on your behalf, etc.

Agents appointed in durable powers of attorney do not need to be attorneys. In fact, family members such as children are more commonly named in durable powers of attorney. However, creating legally sound documents that protect your interests and the power of attorney rights can be difficult without the help of a qualified attorney.

Contact a Chicago Estate Planning Attorney

If you want peace of mind as you enter your coming years, call the Chicago attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC, at (855) 328-5787. Let us help you work out the details of your estate so that you can enjoy your life without worrying about what you’ll leave behind.


Attorney Kyle Fahey handled our matter with skill and professionalism, and was always responsive. 10/10, would work with him and the firm again.

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The peace of mind that Peck Ricthey's office has given me is worth every penny. The services they provided me and my family in an emergency medical situation is beyond outstanding. Last minute notice, Peter Brady and team were compassionate, understanding and most importantly efficient and got the job done. Look no further if you have any needs that this office can provide for you. Definitely in good hands! Thank you, a thousand times over for all of your help.

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I solicited Peck Ritchey, LLC for assistance with a living trust for which I became the beneficiary. I needed assistance with understanding the details of how it all worked. However, I was especially concerned because there were threats of allegations made by family members and a lawsuit was filed against me. I needed a solid professional who had my best interests in mind. Peter Brady took my case and he managed it flawlessly. He explained everything in a way I could understand, he knew the law inside and out, he was always available to answer questions, and even offer support when things seemed like they could become extremely problematic. In addition to this, he had a plan. He navigated the course as if he already knew the next move by the opposing attorney. He made me feel like everything was in control and that’s because he knew exactly what he was doing and he consulted with me about everything. We ended up settling out of court and ultimately the court officially dismissed the lawsuit. I honestly believe if it wasn’t for Peter and his expertise this could have gone in an entirely different direction. Peter did a stellar job and I couldn’t be more pleased and impressed with his performance.

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