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Illinois Healthcare Powers of Attorney

 Posted on October 22, 2012 in Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual (the "Principal") to give another person (the "Agent") the authority to act on his or her behalf as far as decisions regarding healthcare. Under the Illinois Power of Attorney Act, this document can limit the authority of the Agent, specify when the Agent's authority begins and ends, detail the duties that the Agent's authority covers, and set forth any limitations on the Agent's authority.

One common provision of a healthcare power of attorney, for instance, deals with decisions about whether to give or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. If a Principal has certain religious beliefs that prohibit or discourage certain types of medical treatment, a healthcare power of attorney can leave various instructions for the Agent regarding those types of treatment should the situation arise.

The important thing to remember is that you will continue to make your own healthcare decisions until you are no longer able or legally competent to do so. It is only when you become so ill that you cannot make those decisions for yourself that a healthcare power of attorney typically becomes operative.

Having a healthcare power of attorney is critical in many situations. This document allows you to have your wishes with regard to healthcare honored by a person whom you trust, or to have those decisions to be made by the person you have chosen. If you do not have a valid healthcare power of attorney, then the only legal means of making these decisions on your behalf is to petition the court for a guardianship order, which can be a lengthy, burdensome, and expensive process. Not only can executing a legally valid healthcare power of attorney honor your own personal wishes, but it can make things easier for your loved ones in a time of great stress.

Take care of your healthcare concerns and your loved ones by executing a healthcare power of attorney today. Contact your Wheaton, Illinois estate planning lawyer and let us help you plan for your future.

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