Many people may associate incapacitation with dementia and other mental health issues more likely to affect the elderly. However, a stroke often renders people unable to conduct their own affairs. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, it is the number one reason Americans suffer serious, long-term disabilities.
The good news is that you can protect yourself from the effects of stroke. A health care provider can give you advice on ways to stay healthy; an estate planning attorney can help you prepare for the worst by designating powers of attorney through the guidelines of the Illinois Power of Attorney Act.
Power of attorney for health care
While you can identify whether you want medical professionals to resuscitate you or have your life prolonged with medical care through a living will, this document is limited to those eventualities you are able to name. For example, the medical treatment you need may not be a matter of life or death. Instead, it is one of two possible options, both of which have advantages and disadvantages. If you are not able to choose, your power of attorney for health care has the legal authority to choose for you. He or she may also access your medical records and choose which doctor or facility will provide the care you need. How much power this person has is up to you, though. You can provide the authority to make all decisions, or just a few, based on your wishes.
Power of attorney for property
After a stroke, you may be permanently or temporarily unable to handle your financial affairs. In Illinois, you can give the power of attorney for property to someone you trust to take care of your finances for you. For example, you may need to have someone sell your house and find a place for you to live where you can get the long-term health care you need. Or, you may simply need someone to pay your bills while you get back on your feet. The agent you appoint can fulfill these duties and others as you have outlined in the document.
Once you have these advance directives completed, you have effectively eliminated one source of potential stress in your life and can move on to others that may be challenging your health.