Statutory Changes: Power of Attorney for Health Care (IL)

The legislative overhaul to the Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care statute in January of 2015 brought about substantive changes and a brand-new format. However, many individuals and practicing attorneys may be unfamiliar or unaware of additional statutory changes that became effective as of January 1, 2016.

While some of the new statutory changes merely modify the layout of the Power of Attorney for Health Care document, three of the changes are quite substantive:

  1. The guardian nomination is added back in to the document, which serves to nominate your agent under Power of Attorney for Health Care to act as the guardian of your person, if a guardian is deemed to be needed by the Court.
  1. The statute is amended to allow your agent to continue an application or appeal for government benefits on your behalf.
  1. The previous statute only provided the principal with two options when determining when his or her agent could begin acting – the agent could either begin acting immediately, or only upon a physician’s determination that the principal could no longer make his or her own decisions.

The revised language now provides the principal with a third option – this choice still limits your agent’s abilities to make decisions on your behalf until a physician has determined that you can no longer make your own decisions, but does allow your agent the right to access your records and communicate with your health care providers prior to the physician’s determination.

Those of you who don’t wish to change your existing Power of Attorney for Health Care, there’s no need to worry – a “savings clause” was included to ensure that the changes to the statute do not invalidate your current Power of Attorney for Health Care. However, as a best practice, it is always a good idea to consult with your estate planning attorney every couple of years so revisions to your existing documents can be made, if necessary.

This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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