If you reside in the State of Illinois and are looking to obtain a power of attorney, you should know that there are two basic types of forms available. The first one is a power of attorney that will grant power to a person concerning your property and/or assets. The second one, which concerns health care, will be addressed in this article.

(755 ILCS 45/) Illinois Power of Attorney Act

"Sec. 2-1. Purpose. The General Assembly recognizes that each
individual has the right to appoint an agent to make property, financial,
personal, and health care decisions for the individual but that this right
cannot be fully effective unless the principal may empower the agent to act
throughout the principal's lifetime, including during periods of
disability, and have confidence that third parties will honor the agent's authority at all times."

*Source: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2113&ChapterID=60

A power of attorney used for health care reasons is a document that will allow you to give a person or part the legal ability to make health care related decisions on your behalf. If processed correctly, the person will be given the legal ability to make decisions on your behalf when you are not able to. You may also use a power of attorney to tell the appointed individual what sorts of decisions you want made.

A person interested in assigning another individual with the responsibilities of his or her health care must have a valid power of attorney completed before he or she is unable to make decisions for his or herself. A power of attorney cannot be granted after a debilitating event that prevents the petitioner from making his or her own decisions. To further clarify, a power of attorney cannot be made if the petitioner is not mentally competent.

Powers Granted with a Health Care Power of Attorney

Generally, most people will select someone they trust to hold a power of attorney. This can be the person’s close friend, his or her spouse, or even a trusted relative. A power of attorney for health care will give a person, also known as an agent, the power to make all of your health care related decisions. You can also limit their power by setting what specific situations you would want them to be held responsible for. The following are some of the most common responsibilities you can grant your agent:

  • Health care related decisions
  • Medical treatment decisions
  • Permission to admit you into a medical facility
  • The power to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf
  • The power to discharge you from a medical facility
  • The legal authority to approve an autopsy
  • The legal authority to donate your body for medical research purposes
  • The legal authority to decide what will happen to your remains

Keep in mind that you have the right to limit these powers to your agent. For example, if you are against a certain medical treatment due to your religion, you can state so in your power of attorney documents.

Seek Legal Support

A power of attorney is one of the most important documents to consider if you are facing a debilitating situation. It can help to provide peace of mind, if filed correctly. In order to ensure that your power of attorney is valid, consult with a legal professional to guide you through the process. An attorney with the right experience can make sure that your power of attorney is resilient even when you are no longer able to say so. Seek the assistance and support of an estate lawyer that is right for you.