FAQs: What Is A Health Care POA?

  • Power of Attorney
  • Wills
FAQs What Is A Health Care POA? | Mario Godoy | Chicago Estate Planning Lawyer

The Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care, commonly called a Health Care POA,  allows you to name a family member, friend or another person called an agent, to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make and communicate decisions for yourself at a later date. The decisions covered in a Health Care POA include withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures. The Health Care POA also allows your agent to choose whether to donate your organs and make burial arrangements.

What is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

A Healthcare POA is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another. A Health Care POA, like all other Illinois Powers of Attorney, has specific requirement to make it legally enforceable in Illinois:

  • You must sign the POA in front of a witness
  • The witness must be at least 18 years old
  • The witness must be mentally competent

After you sign your Health Care POA, give copies to your primary medical doctor and to other health care providers who you see regularly, as well as the agent you have authorized to make your health care decisions if you become incapacitated.

Disadvantages to Not Having a Health Care POA

If you do not have a Health Care POA, Illinois law also allows you to have a Living Will, which is limited in scope and informs your doctor of your wishes about life-sustaining procedures if you have an incurable and irreversible injury where death is imminent without death delaying procedures.

If there is no Health Care POA or Living Will, the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act allows your guardian, caregivers, family members or close friends to make decisions about medical treatment if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

A Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will allow you to appoint someone to make your health care and end-of-life decisions if you are no longer able. A POA and will are not enforceable if they are not properly drafted and executed.  You should talk with an experienced power of attorney and wills lawyer to make sure you understand your options regarding medical, health care and end-of-life decisions, and that your wishes are properly documented.

Health Care POAs and Living Wills prepare for future situations where you may not be able to make your own medical decisions. Contact an experienced POA and wills attorney at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at (630) 382-8069.