More people are becoming familiar with the term ‘living will,’ but don’t know exactly what it is, or the benefits of a living will. Living wills provide peace of mind to people who want to retain control over their lives even when circumstances make it difficult or impossible for them to do so, such as if they are mentally or physically incapacitated. Living wills are legally enforceable, and anyone with a power of attorney over you is obligated to follow the directions in the living will.
Also called an Advance Directive, a living will is a legal document that describes what is to be done if you are left incapacitated in a terminal condition because of a disease, injury, or simply old age, and can no longer communicate your healthcare wishes. Your living will document your healthcare wishes in the event that you’re not able to express them yourself.
A person who creates a living will can revoke a living will by destroying the document, writing a declaration to revoke the living will, or making an oral rescission in the presence of a competent witness. For a living will to be legally enforceable in Illinois, there are some requirements:
• the person’s wishes must be in writing
• the author of the living will must sign the document or direct another person to sign the will on his or her behalf
• 2 witnesses must personally see the testator sign the document and sign it on their own
1. You can refuse medical treatment you do not want., such as a DNR: Do Not Resuscitate order. If you are unable to communicate, your living will expresses your wishes and is legally enforceable.
2. You can minimize stress and prevent arguments among your family members on the healthcare you would want because you have already made your decisions in your living will.
3. You can instruct your doctors on your treatment wishes in your living will, so you get the type of care that you want.
4. Long-term care can be expensive for your family, and it may create financial problems for your family. In your living will you can specify what care you do want – and what care you don’t want.
5. You can relieve the burden of decision-making on your spouse and children because you have already decided what type of medical care you want if you become incapacitated.
Making healthcare decisions for a loved one who becomes seriously ill can be frightening and overwhelming. An experienced estate planning attorney can listen to your goals and plans, and draft a living will that explains your medical care choices when you are no longer able to.
Living wills allow a person who is suffering from a terminal illness or injury to dictate the steps they want doctors to take, which may include a denial of resuscitation or life-support care when a lack of care would lead to death. A living will attorney can help you understand the legal requirements and effects of a living will. Call Estate and Probate Legal Group in Lombard today at 630-864-5835 to schedule an initial consultation.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties