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Empowering families facing Alzheimer’s by navigating critical legal decisions

Story contributed by: Kerry Peck, Managing Partner of Peck Ritchey, LLC and Legal Education Partner for Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter.

The Attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC are often asked to teach lawyers and give speeches in the community regarding the law affecting older adults. Regrettably, Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive illness in which the patient will ultimately suffer cognitive impairment destroying that person’s capability to make decisions and/or execute documents. Thus, time is of the essence in addressing critical issues such as: who will make health care decisions when your relative lacks the mental capacity to make decisions; and who will manage your relative’s assets as the Alzheimer’s Disease strips away mental capacity?

The law in Illinois provides for the creation of two types of Powers of Attorney which can assist in planning for a family member or loved with diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

A Power of Attorney is a document naming someone else to make decisions for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease when they are incapable of making decisions for themselves. The two types of Powers of Attorney are: 1. The Power of Attorney for Health Care, which authorizes medical decisions, and 2. The Power of Attorney for Property to manage the Alzheimer’s stricken person’s assets. Both Powers of Attorney require that, while mentally competent, the person with Alzheimer’s Disease choose his or her Agent to make decisions for them relating to their medical care and/or asset management.

Unfortunately, often times the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease no longer has the mental capacity to sign the documents because the disease has progressed too far. If that is the situation, then in Illinois, the law would require the filing of a Guardianship case in Court. The case requires a doctor’s report concluding that your relative is either totally or partially incapable of making medical and/or asset management decisions. It is imperative that if your relative has a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease that you and your loved one act before the cognitive impairment is very significant, and the only recourse is a Guardianship Court proceeding.

Kerry Peck, Managing Partner of Peck Ritchey, LLC serves as Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law and previously as President of the Chicago Bar Association. Mr. Peck is Co-Author of Alzheimer’s and the Law and Don’t Let Dementia Steal Everything, books which he wrote at the request of the American Bar Association. Kerry Peck served on the Association’s Board for many years and the Law Firm was honored last year by the Alzheimer’s Association. Peck Ritchey LLC is a one-stop shop for families navigating the devastating effects of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Peck Ritchey, LLC offers a no-cost initial consultation by phone, zoom, or in person to assess how we can help you and your family. Peck Ritchey, LLC has offices in Chicago, Northbrook, Oak Brook, and Lake Forest. We can be reached by phone at 312-201-0900. We look forward to serving your Elder Law, Trust, and Estate Needs throughout Illinois.



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Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter

2200 Cabot Dr., Suite 460

Lisle, IL 60532

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