Health Care POA
HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY (“Health POA”)
A Health Care Power of Attorney (“Health Care POA”) allows you to designate an agent to make all decisions about your health care if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. The choice of agent and successor agents should be made with great care and consideration and should ideally be discussed with your family and agents in advance. If you do not execute a Health Care POA, Illinois statute will control the order of preference for decision-making ability under certain situations.This applies to all health care decisions and all types of medical conditions.
Generally, the agent under a Health Care POA must follow the guidelines for medical treatment determined by you and will have the ability to direct the withholding or withdrawal of “life-sustaining treatment” (such as tube-feeding and respiratory support) . Most people choose one of the following 3 options:
- Not using life-sustaining treatment if the agent believes the burdens outweighs the benefits (considering suffering, the expense involved, and the quality of life);
- Using life-sustaining treatment unless the principal is in an irreversible coma;
- Prolonging life to the greatest extent possible without regard to the principal’s condition.
Consider Replacing Existing Living Will with a Health Care Property of Attorney. If you have a Living Will, consider replacing it with a Health Care POA which gives the agent broader powers than a living will because (1) a living will only applies if you have an incurable and irreversible injury, disease or illness and death is imminent (i.e., not applicable if you are unconscious or in a vegetative state); and (2) a living will generally does not allow the removal of tube-feeding. (3) A living will is a directive to your physician (not family members) to make medical decisions.
COMMON ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS AND CONCERNS: