National Health Care Decisions Day is an annual reminder that everyone understands the importance of health care planning, and to make sure that your health care directives are in place. April 16, 2020, is National Health Care Decisions Day, and with a global pandemic and national and local #StayHome emergency orders in place to flatten the coronavirus (COVID-19) curve,
Advance care planning includes completing an advance directive (also known as a living will) and appointing a healthcare power of attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). Then, most importantly, sharing your decisions with your family and loved ones.
If you do not have an advanced directive in place and you become ill or incapacitated, medical personnel must consult and rely on your immediate family members to determine your wishes. Family members may have different views than you do, and may struggle to make difficult healthcare decisions. With planning, many of these difficult decisions can be avoided.
A Health Care Proxy and Medical POA do the same things. They are a type of advanced healthcare directive, which are legal documents to say what actions should be taken regarding your health and medical treatment if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself due to illness or incapacitation.
Health Care Proxy
If you become incapacitated, who do you trust to make your health care decisions? If you don’t appoint a health care proxy, the courts will assign someone to make your medical decisions – and it may not be a person your trust. A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical POA is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, a signed, witnessed legal document where someone designates an agent to make health care decisions if they are temporarily or permanently unable to make such medical decisions. A durable power of attorney for health care lasts indefinitely and the person granting the POA authority typically retains the power to revoke it.
• FAQ: I told my family I don’t want life-sustaining medical care. Do I need a medical directive?
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An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you make and set up a legal medical directive or power of attorney. Consulting an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Lombard can give you protection and peace of mind. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630.800.0112.