Having a Baby Soon? Why You Need to Complete Your Healthcare POA Before You Leave for the Hospital

Web Admin - Thursday, September 24, 2020
Inverness estate planning lawyer for healthcare POA

Thinking about the future in case something happens to you can be a daunting task. Many people do not like to think about what will occur if they pass away. However, estate planning is essential if you want your wishes to be carried out and avoid disputes between surviving family members. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that names the person who can speak for you if you become incapacitated and incapable of making your own decisions. A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to give a certain individual the authority to make decisions about his or her medical care. Healthcare POA can refer to both a legal document and a person who has been granted this type of legal authority. For women who are expecting a child, it is critical to have a healthcare POA named in case complications during labor and delivery leave them unable to make decisions regarding medical intervention for them or their newborn.  

What Does a Healthcare POA Cover?

A medical power of attorney can include stipulations concerning a wide variety of medical procedures, including hiring a personal care assistant and determining types of medical treatments in general. These directives might only be necessary for a temporary period of time, or they could be needed for a long-term health crisis. 

A healthcare POA will usually only go into effect if a person does not have the mental capacity to make decisions for himself or herself regarding medical treatment. An example could involve a pregnant woman who suffers complications while in labor after she arrives at the hospital, such as a heart attack or stroke. If she loses consciousness for any reason, she will be incapable of communicating whether she wants to be put on life-sustaining support such as a ventilator or feeding tube. Depending on the woman’s condition, any medical emergency could directly affect her baby’s health. If medical staff are faced with the decision to save either a mother or her baby, this is the type of choice that can be made ahead of time with a POA. 

Typically, married spouses are each other’s designated POAs. However, if a woman is unmarried and pregnant, her healthcare POA could be a parent, sister, cousin, or friend.    

Contact a Kenilworth Estate Planning Lawyer

Designating a Healthcare Power of Attorney is very important. If you are pregnant, it is essential that you complete this document before you deliver your child. This will ensure that if complications arise during childbirth, you will be given the medical treatment that you would have consented to if you were able to make that decision on your own. The knowledgeable legal team of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC is prepared to help you draft these essential documents. Our skilled Riverwoods estate planning attorneys are well-versed in Illinois laws and how they may impact your unique situation. To arrange a free consultation, call our office today at 847-934-8000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.



New Law Mandates Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women

Web Admin - Thursday, December 11, 2014

pregnant woman wrongful termination, employee rights lawyerDiscrimination against pregnant women in the workforce has long been a concern, and now the Illinois legislature has passed a new law designed to help give women greater protection. The new law modifies the Illinois Human Rights Act, effective starting next year, to more clearly protect pregnant women's rights. The new rights include the right to reasonable accommodation of their pregnancy by their employers, protection from employment discrimination, and protection from forced leave. The law also grants employers some protection from unreasonable demands, such as the ability to refuse accommodations if such accommodations would place an undue hardship on the business.

New Rights for Pregnant Women

The law includes four new rights for “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to childbirth.” The most legally complex of these rights is the right to a reasonable accommodation of their pregnancy. These accommodations are changes to the employee’s duties or their workspace that allow the employee to perform the “essential duties” of the position. The law provides some examples of these reasonable accommodations, which may include things like more frequent bathroom breaks, private space for breastfeeding, or a modified work schedule.

The law also provides another set of more concrete rights to pregnant women. For instance, employers may not force accommodations onto a pregnant woman if she does not want them, a provision that is likely designed to protect women from being forced to modify or reduce their work schedules. Similarly, the law forbids an employer from forcing a pregnant woman to take maternity leave if she chooses not to.

Employer's Rights

The law also includes a new set of rights for employers that relate to the issue of reasonable accommodation. The first right is that employers can claim that the accommodation the woman is asking for would place an undue hardship on the company. The law defines undue hardship as “an action that is prohibitively expensive or disruptive.” It also provides four factors for judges to consider when determining whether something is an undue hardship:

  1. 1. The nature and cost of the accommodations;
  2. 2. The financial resources of the facility providing the accommodation and the accommodation's impact on the company's operations;
  3. 3. The resources and size of the employer; and
  4. 4. The type of work the employer does.

This provides a highly individualized test that depends greatly on both the specific employer and the accommodation requested. The law also provides the employer with the right to request medical documentation supporting the need for the accommodation.

If you believe that your rights under this new act are being violated or if you are an employer concerned about your obligations under the new law, contact a Crystal Lake employment law attorney today. Our firm helps many northwest suburban employees and businesses in towns like Rolling Meadows, Crystal Lake, Arlington Heights, Inverness, Deer Park, Palatine, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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