Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care

By John Landers
An Illinois Power of Attorney Health Care can keep you in control of your health care  when you are unable to act.

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The Illinois power of attorney for health care permits an individual called the "principal," to give authorization to another person, called an "agent", to make decisions related to the principal's heath care in the event the principal becomes mentally or physically unable to act for himself. Often, this document takes the place of a living will.

Significance

The Illinois power of attorney for health care offers flexibility. The principal can use this form for numerous health-related circumstances and can make decisions regarding his health care in advance. This keeps the choice for making important decisions about your health our of the hands of the courts.

Benefits

Often, relatives may end up in the position of making decisions regarding the health care of a relative and not having any idea of the wishes of the loved one. An Illinois power of attorney for health care removes this burden. For example, you can decide whether you want your life sustaining medications and treatments should you ever need them. This document spells out for the specifics of when your want life prolonged and under what circumstances.

Considerations

Illinois law requires a minimum age of 18 for both the principal and agent. Regulations prohibit your doctor or any other paid health care provider from acting as an agent. The principal, and a witness, must sign the document. Speak to the agent about your wishes and acceptable methods of treatments. You may want to consider adding additional agents for cases where the primary agent becomes unavailable. Give a copy of the document to your agent, lawyer, doctor and family members.

Identification

Make sure the agents you select has your trust and you can rely on them to act in your best interest. Make it clear in the document what duties you expect the agent to perform and any limitations or protection for the agents. You can instruct the agent to maintain a record of receipts, expenditures and action taken on your behalf as your agent.

Time Frame

The principal can dictate when the Power of Attorney for Health Care can commence and end. The principal can amend the document or revoke it at any time, orally or in writing. The law requires the oral revocation reduced to writing by a person 18 or older. If the principal becomes physically or mentally disabled, only court action can revoke the document. In the absence of a termination date in the document, the Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care remains in force until the principal's death.

Warnings

Do not give your agent too much authority that may exceed what you want for your care. Board wording in the document engenders misinterpretations and potential abuse. Conversely, narrowly construed language makes treatment options very limited. Keep in mind that the courts can revoke the power of attorney if the agent does not follow instructions or misuses the power.

About the Author

John Landers has a bachelor's degree in business administration. He worked several years as a senior manager in the housing industry before pursuing his passion to become a writer. He has researched and written articles on a wide variety of interesting subjects for an array of clients. He loves penning pieces on subjects related to business, health, law and technology.

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