Health Care Powers of Attorney (HCPA)- A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document that allows you to appoint a person (an agent) to make important medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to communicate those decisions. You do want a HCPA to keep you out of court! A health care agent has broader authority than a court-appointed guardian (which you would need in many instances if you do not have this document). Additionally, the cost to prepare this document is only a fraction of the costs associated with a guardianship.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is very important that your health care agent understands the importance of what he/she is signing BEFORE signing the document. Since the financial crisis of 2008, many medical facilities and nursing care facilities have drafted their contracts and admission documents in a manner that can cause your agent to become personally responsible for your medical care costs. If you are the agent helping a family member or friend, it is very wise to consult with our firm BEFORE you sign any documents!!!
Are there other documents, like a Living Will, that I should have? Sometimes people use the terms "Living Will," Health Care Surrogate or Health Care Proxy. Depending on what state a person resides in will determine which document or documents are prudent for that person. In Illinois, most elder law practitioners strongly recommend that every client have a Health Care Power of Attorney as their principal medical document.
A PROUD MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ELDER LAW ATTORNEYS