When someone requires medical care or treatment, that patient has the right to decide on their own medical care. This is called informed consent. Informed consent means that you and your health care provider have discussed your care, you understand the treatment plan, and that you consent to the medical care of treatment. If you or someone you care about is physically or mentally unable to give informed consent and make medical decisions on their own behalf and in their own best interests, a medical power of attorney or health care proxy can provide protection so that your wishes and best interests are considered.
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 principal 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.
If you are no longer able to give informed consent to make your own healthcare decisions, or of someone you love cannot make their own medical decisions, a Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make your health care decisions if you are no longer able. A POA is not enforceable if it is not properly drafted and executed. You should talk with an experienced power of attorney 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 an informed consent about your own medical care. Contact an experienced POA and wills attorney at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard, Illinois today at 630-687-9100.
We serve Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.