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What Kind of Powers are Granted to My Health Care Power of Attorney Agent?

 Posted on August 24, 2016 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyAs with most estate planning arrangements, you, thankfully, have a say over who you appoint as your “agent” when it comes to your health care power of attorney. Under this planning tool, you are considered the “principal” and the person you appoint as “agent” is granted various permissions regarding your health care.

In short, a health care power of attorney, or POA, is a type of advance directive which allows you to designate someone you trust to make decisions about your health, on your behalf, in the event you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself due to illness or debilitative condition. You can create a binding power of attorney for your health by using the standard state form or by writing your own.

How the Powers Are Determined

However you choose to go about creating your POA, it is important to understand the kind of powers that are granted to the agent you choose and to what extent you have say over those powers. What kind of powers will be given to your agent? How much say will they have over your health in the unfortunate event that you are no longer able to make such decisions?

The good news is you will always have a say over your health for as long as you can make a call and are of sound mind, regardless of whether or not a health care power of attorney exists under your name. You get to determine which powers are granted to your agent, and you are permitted to provide as many details, limitations, and specifications as you wish. You have the ability to cancel your POA at any time, and you may designate a backup agent if you would like. This is helpful in the event that the first agent cannot or will not take action on your behalf.

Under your written direction, your health care POA agent is granted the following permissions:

  • Decisions about life-sustaining treatments and the nature of such treatments;
  • When to end life-sustaining treatment;
  • The refusal of certain types of treatments based on religious or personal reasons;
  • The withholding or donation of anatomical gifts; and
  • The handling and disposal of remains.

These permissions are broad, which is why you are encouraged to specify in as much detail as you wish what you do and do not want in relation to decisions made about your body and health. You also have the right to include time limits, which means you can choose to enforce your health care POA from the moment it is signed until the moment of your death.

Due to the broad nature of this type of advance directive, it is understandable to have questions regarding the creation of the document and what it means for you and your family. Speak with a professional DuPage County wills and estate planning attorney to explore your options today. Call A. Traub & Associates today for a confidential consultation.



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