March 26, 2020 — With the spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”), we are reminded of the importance of having an up-to-date estate plan in place.  One key element of an estate plan is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (“Healthcare POA”).

With a Healthcare POA, you appoint one or more agents to implement and make key health care decisions for you, consistent with your own priorities, if your health prevents you from being able to specify your own wishes at a particular point in time.  Examples of these choices include the power to require, consent to, or withdraw treatment, including end-of-life decisions.  This legal instrument is important after an accident or illness leaves you unconscious, disabled or incapacitated.

If you already have a Healthcare POA, we encourage you to review it now to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and desired agent(s).  This review is especially important if you executed your Healthcare POA before July 2011, since the State of Illinois amended the power of attorney laws effective July 2011.

Keep in mind that when you designate an agent, it is usually important to appoint at least one back-up agent. You may create as deep a bench of successors as you wish. And you may change your mind by executing a new Healthcare POA.

We also encourage you to talk to the young people in your life about creating their Healthcare POA once they have turned eighteen, especially because parents will generally no longer have access to their medical records and/or lack legal authority to act after they attain legal adult status.

Attorney Leighton and our staff at Leighton Legal Group would be happy to help you create a new or updated Healthcare POA.  Please contact us today to schedule your 30-minute courtesy initial consultation by leaving a message at 309/828-7600 or by sending an email to [email protected].