Table of Contents:
Choosing an Agent
In Nebraska, the individual that you select to be your agent under a power of attorney for heath care must meet certain requirements. By law, the agent must be at least 19 years old and competent. Competency is presumed in Nebraska unless the person has been judged to be incompetent. The agent cannot be your attending physician, nor can he be employed by your health care provider. Further, an agent is disqualified if he is currently acting as an agent under 10 or more POAs. Once appointed, the agent's powers under a POA can be broad, including the authority to make all decisions that you can legally make, or they can be limited to any extent that you desire.
In Nebraska, the authority you provide to your agent can include the power to make all legal medical decisions. This includes deciding which health care provider to use, whether to accept or deny any treatment, and approving organ donations. You may decide not to not delegate some of this decision-making authority by simply noting it in the POA. Certain medical procedures, such as physician-assisted suicide, are illegal in Nebraska, and therefore decision-making power for these procedures cannot be granted by a POA.
In order to be considered valid, a POA must be in writing and identify both you and the agent you wish to appoint. Nebraska allows you to indicate a successor agent that will take the primary agent's place in the event that he is unable or unwilling to serve. The document must then be signed by you in the presence of a notary or at least two adult witnesses. If a notary is used, she may not be designated as either the agent or successor agent. If witnesses are used, they must not be your spouse or children or an employee of the medical facility where you are receiving care; they must also not stand to inherit under the terms of your will.
Revoking a POA
Unless revoked, a properly executed POA will remain in effect until your death. In Nebraska, you may revoke a POA in any manner that demonstrates an intent to revoke. The act does not need to be in writing, and may be communicated to either your agent or attending physician, who will then relay that information to the other party. Revocations, in whole or in part, are not effective in Nebraska if you have been declared incompetent. This determination must be made by your attending physician.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.