An advanced health care directive is an important part of developing a comprehensive estate plan and critical to making sure your wishes for your health care< treatment are always honored. An advance health care directive is a legal document that memorializes how you want medical decisions made on your behalf if, at any point in the future, you are unable to make them yourself. Two of the most important advance directives you can put in place include health care power of attorney and a living will.
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?
With a health care power of attorney, you, the “principal,” appoint a person, the “agent,” who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you ever become unable to make them yourself. No one wants to think of a future in which they are incapacitated, but a health care power of attorney will help ensure that, if this were to ever happen, you would have a person you trust making these important decisions on your behalf. You may also name an alternate agent that will take up the power of attorney should your first choice be unable to perform these duties.
The health care power of attorney grants a broad range of important powers. You can make your instructions to your agents as specific as you wish. You can provide specific directions as to how you would want a certain situation handled. This means you can explicitly explain what type of life-sustaining treatments would be okay and when you would want them used. Additionally, you can specify what types of treatments you would not want in any circumstances.
The health care power of attorney will remain valid up until your time of death, unless you specify otherwise. You retain the right to cancel the power of attorney at any time.
What is a Living Will?
A living will, while similar in concept to a health care power of attorney, is different in that it will only become applicable if you are suffering from a terminal medical condition. A terminal condition includes any incurable condition that will lead to imminent death. In such a situation, life-sustaining procedures would not be a cure, but only prolong the amount of time the person had to live. In Illinois, a physician must have diagnosed you with a terminal medical condition Under these circumstances, a living will informs your health care provider as to whether you want life-sustaining treatment at a point when you are unable to communicate these wishes yourself.
Protecting Your Health Care Wishes No Matter What Life Throws Your Way.
Sometimes, the unimaginable or unthinkable happens. If you were to ever consider the possibility that you would become incapacitated or be unable to communicate your health care wishes effectively, you would most likely find a great deal of peace of mind in the fact that your wishes were legally memorialized in your estate plan. At M&A Law Firm, P.C., we are here to help make sure your wishes are always honored, no matter what life throws your way. Contact M&A Law Firm, P.C. today. We proudly serve Cook County and Skokie, Illinois.