In Illinois, your health care directive is called a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. However, if in your document, you only leave instructions for your health care – and you don’t name an agent to make decisions for you – then your document is instead called a Declaration (sometimes referred to as a living will). After you create your power of attorney (or declaration), you must sign your document and have it witnessed.
If your document includes instructions for your health care, it must be signed by two witnesses. Neither of your witnesses may be:
- under the age of 18
- the person who signed your declaration for you, if you were unable to sign it yourself
- a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
- a person directly financially responsible for your medical care.
If your document includes your nomination for an agent, it must be signed by at least one witness who may not be:
- your attending physician or mental health care provider, or a relative of the physician or provider
- an owner, operator or relative of an owner or operator of a health
- care facility in which you are a patient or resident (this includes directors or executive officers of an operator that is a corporate entity, but not other employees of the operator)
- a parent, sibling or descendant, or the spouse of a parent, sibling or descendant, of either you or your agent or alternate agent, regardless of whether the relationship is by blood, marriage or adoption, or
- your agent or alternate agent for health care.
After you and your witness or witnesses sign power of attorney (or declaration), it is legally valid. Keep the original in your files and give a copy to your agent, if you named one. To ensure that you get the health care that you want, it’s a good idea to make your wishes widely known. So, you might also consider giving copies of your document to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.
Review your document every few years to make sure that it still reflects your wishes. Also, consider making new documents if you move to another state, get married or divorced, or if your agent is no longer able to supervise your wishes.
Your properly finalized document will stay in effect until you revoke it, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your power of attorney (or declaration) at any time. The best way to revoke your document is to do it in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you may have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your power of attorney (or declaration) that you have revoked it.
Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.
Learn more about Illinois Declarations and Powers of Attorney for Health Care.
When you make a declaration or power of attorney for health care with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to all of Illinois’ laws about declarations and powers of attorney for health care. And it will print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal.