In Illinois and many other states across the nation, you are allowed to select a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Choosing someone to be your health care agent is no easy task. The person you choose must meet all state requirements and be able and willing to take on such an important responsibility.
What are the requirements of a health care agent?
You will have to fill out an advance directive form to formally select a health care agent. You must choose someone who is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. Generally, people choose a spouse, adult child, other relative or close friend as their health care agent. However, the most important thing is that you choose someone whom you trust to always act in your best interests, while still respecting your wishes.
The person you choose will have the power to decide:
- What medical treatments and procedures you will undergo, if any.
- Who is allowed to see your medical records.
- When to withdraw treatment.
- Where you will receive treatment and who will administer it.
- Which life-saving measures should be taken, if any, if you are unlikely to recover.
- Whether to donate your organs, if you have not already specified whether you would like to donate.
Healthcare agents should be trustworthy and willing to advocate for the person they are representing. An estate plan and probate can make sure that you choose the best person possible for this role and fill out all of the necessary paperwork correctly.