A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document that allows you to name someone (an Agent) to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Thus, if you become mentally incompetent or if you are ever in a coma, your Agent can make decisions for you (assuming your Power of Attorney is durable).
Because of the important power that you are giving to someone else through a Power of Attorney, it is critical that you name someone as your Agent whom you can trust with your life. Thus, many people choose to name their spouse, a close relative, or a friend whom they can trust to serve in this capacity.
Why is an Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care important to have?
In Illinois, a Power of Attorney for Health Care is important to have because it allows you to have the control to name your own Agent. In the absence of a Power of Attorney for Health Care, a Court guardianship would be necessary in order to appoint a Guardian to make health care decisions on your behalf if you were to become mentally incompetent. This person (your Guardian) would be appointed at the sole discretion of a judge in the Probate Court of your local county. Thus, by making a Power of Attorney for Health Care in advance of any mental incompetency happening to you, a court guardianship can be completely avoided.
A Power of Attorney for Health Care is also important to have because it allows you to state your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment. This will enable you to clearly communicate to your Agent just how much care you desire to have in order to keep you alive in the event you are in a life-threatening state.
Who should be your Agent for a Power of Attorney for Health Care in Illinois?
A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a very important document, and gives great power to the person you name (your Agent) to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Thus, it is critical to name someone you completely trust to make decisions that you would have made had you been competent to do so. Some questions to think about when deciding who to name as an Agent would be:
Thinking through these questions will enable you to better understand who would be best to serve as your Agent for a Power of Attorney for Health Care. This decision could very well be one of the most important ones of your whole life!
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