You may have heard about a new Health Care Power of Attorney in Illinois. It’s true! As of January 1, 2015, there IS a new Illinois Statutory Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA).

If you are over the age of 18 and have never signed a HCPOA, you need to do it now! If you don’t have one and you are ever unable to make your own medical decisions, Illinois law will dictate who can make those decisions for you. This may not be the person you would choose (like your son who you haven’t spoken to in six years) or it may be more than one person (maybe your two children) who cannot agree on what you would want and end up fighting it out in court.

But what does the new law mean if you already have one? If you have a valid health care power of attorney that you signed BEFORE January 1, 2015, then you do not need to do a new one to comply with the new statute.

However, this may be a good time to review your old power of attorney to see if it is valid and if it still reflects your wishes. Consider the following:

  1. Is your HCPOA a valid power of attorney under Illinois law?
  2. Is your initial agent still the same person you would choose now to make your health care decisions for you?
  3. Did you name one or more successor agents in case your initial agent is unable or unwilling to act as your agent?
  4. Do you have specific authorization for your agent to act as your agent under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?
  5. Did you initial a choice regarding an end-of-life decision? If so, does it still reflect your wishes?
  6. Did you indicate whether you want your power of attorney to become effective immediately when you signed it or only upon the occurrence of a particular event, like your disability as confirmed by a physician?
  7. Did you sign your power of attorney in the past 4 years?

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then you should consider signing a new HCPOA. Otherwise, if you become ill or unable to make your own health care decisions, your wishes may not be carried out that way you would want. If you would like to review your HCPOA, or don’t have one, call our office to schedule a no-charge consultation. We would be happy to discuss this with you and help you take the necessary steps so that you can rest assured that someone you trust can help you with medical decisions if you ever need it.

Should you have any questions about this, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.