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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Health Care Power of Attorney, Part 2 - The Elements of the HCPA

What are the elements of the Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care ("HCPA")?
1.  An explicit appointment by you of your desired attorney-in-fact ("agent"). This designated individual will have the power under the document to "make any and all decisions for [you] concerning [your] personal care, medical treatment, hospitalization and health care..." They also will have the power to "require, withhold or withdraw any type of medical treatment or procedure, even though [your] death may ensue..." Finally, they will also be able to "authorize an autopsy and direct the disposition of [your] remains..."
2.  You also have the right to explicitly limit any of the powers conferred upon your agent, like denying them the ability to initiate a type of treatment that may conflict with your religious beliefs.
3.  A section is provided whereby three separate statements regarding life-sustaining treatment are set forth. You may, but are not required to, choose one of the statements if it matches your wishes regarding such treatment. You are also able to customize or create your own unique statement.
4.  The HCPA is generally effective upon signing and terminates upon death, revocation, or replacement. However, you may specify a specific start date and/or a specific end date, if you wish. This is useful if the HCPA is only intended to be active for a limited amount of time (like during a vacation).
5.  You may also designate successor agent(s) if your designated agent in paragraph 1 "shall die, become incompetent, resign or refuse to accept the office of agent or be unavailable..."
6.  If a guardianship is required for you, you may also designate your agent as the person whom shall become your guardian of the person.
7.  The form is signed and witnessed.

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