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Monday, December 14, 2009
Health Care Power of Attorney, Part 1
These are extremely important and difficult questions and unique to each individual's own set of circumstances. If you have completed no planning for this, Illinois has its own Health Care Surrogate Surrogate Act (755 ILCS 40/1-55) which lists, in order of priority, whom may make decisions for you. However, why leave this to the statute and potential disputes among your family regarding what they think your wishes might be? The easiest way to avoid this problem is to have an Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care, otherwise commonly referred to as a Health Care Power of Attorney ("HCPA").
This document enables you to designate your choice for the person that you wish to be your health care agent, the person that may speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. This completely removes any question of your intent as to whom you wish to act on your behalf to protect you during a time of crisis. You may also designate one or more successor agents that may step in if your primary named agent is unable to act.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which will detail the elements of the HCPA.