Most people create wills in order to determine what is to be done with their assets upon their death. However, it is also possible to create a testamentary document that decides what is to be done if you are left incapacitated because of a disease, injury, or simple old age.
Known as living wills, these documents have full legal force, and any person who might have power of attorney over you is obligated to follow the directions in these documents. A living will addresses what types of medical care you wish to receive and whether or not doctors should take all necessary steps to preserve your life.
Living wills in Lombard could provide peace of mind to people who wish to retain control over their lives even when circumstances make it difficult or impossible for them to do so. A skilled attorney could help you or your family members craft living wills in Lombard and take the necessary steps to ensure that your desires are met in case of a future accident.
755 Illinois Compiled Statutes 35/1 affirms that many people who are suffering from a terminal illness have the fundamental right to decide which medical steps should be taken to delay their death. While this does not equate to a right to die in legal terms, it does mean that all people have the right to refuse any life-saving treatment in case of a terminal condition.
In addition, 755 ILCS 35/4 states that any doctor who has diagnosed a terminal condition must follow the directions of the patient. Therefore, if a patient presents a living will to a physician, that physician must follow the terms of the document and make a mark in the patient’s medical records regarding the will’s directive.
Fortunately, no person in Lombard or elsewhere is bound to the terms of his or her own living will. At any time, a person may revoke a living will by destroying the document, crafting a written declaration to revoke the living will, or making an oral rescission in the presence of a competent witness. An attorney could help individuals understand the purpose of a living will and the legal ramifications of creating these documents.
The process to create a living will is much the same as that needed to create any other testamentary document. The person’s wishes must be in writing, and the author of the living will must sign the document or direct another person to sign the will on his or her behalf. Either way, two witnesses must personally see the testator sign the document and sign it on their own.
Any person over the age of 18 may make a living will at any time. 755 ILCS 35/3 offers a template that any person may use to refuse life-extending medical treatment in case of a terminal condition. However, any person could make modifications to this template to cover his or her specific desires.
It is then the responsibility of the testator to inform his or her doctor of the existence of the living will and to provide a copy to that doctor. If the patient is unable, a guardian of the patient, a person with power of attorney, or the patient’s family—if neither of the previous two parties are available—may present the living will. Once a doctor receives a living will in Lombard, he or she has an obligation to follow its instructions or to transfer the patient to another doctor who will.
Many of the conditions associated with terminal ailments are extremely painful and may linger for months or years with life support care. If you do not wish to endure this process, a living will may be a good option.
Living wills in Lombard allow a person who is suffering from a terminal illness or injury to dictate the steps that he or she wishes for his or her doctors to take, which may include a denial of resuscitation or life-support care when a lack of care would lead to death. An attorney could help you understand the legal requirements and effects of a living will in Lombard. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.