Wills play an important role in the estate planning process and help the courts, and your executor, determine how to distribute your assets following your death. If you died without a valid will, Illinois state courts will consider you intestate and distribute your assets based on statewide guidelines.
Wills are essential elements for every individual, regardless of their financial or familial circumstances.
At DeBlasio & Gower LLC, our team of experienced Illinois living will attorneys have spent more than forty years helping our clients create valid, legally binding living wills that ensure that their wishes are executed when it matters most.
What Is a Living Will?
A living will outlines your wishes regarding medical treatments, medications, procedures, and end-of-life decisions if you receive a terminal diagnosis or experience a severe injury and can’t speak for yourself.
Your living will may address a variety of factors, such as:
- Who can make decisions for you in the event of incapacitation
- What, if any, medical care you have authorized
- Do-not-resuscitate instructions
- Your wishes regarding the withholding or withdrawal of life support or other death-delaying procedures
The Benefits of a Living Will
Like last wills and testaments, a living will offers several benefits for you and your loved ones, as follows.
- You don’t have to undergo treatments you don’t want. A living will ensures that you don’t receive any medical treatments you don’t want. For example, some people refuse treatment based on religious or moral principles. Living wills enable you to make decisions that align with your beliefs, even when you cannot verbalize them.
- Your family members will not have to make difficult decisions on your behalf. Without a living will, your loved ones will have to carry the burden of making difficult medical decisions on your behalf. By deciding for them, you simplify the process and make the decisions easier for the ones you love most.
- You can preemptively authorize treatments you do want. Some medical procedures require patient authorization. A living will allows you to authorize the treatments you do want–or simply instruct medical staff to keep you comfortable.
- You ensure that doctors and medical staff adhere to your wishes. Living wills place you in control of your life, even if you have become incapacitated. By providing physicians with advanced directives, you can ensure that they’ll follow your wishes.
- You can reduce the risk of financial strain on your loved ones. Finally, living wills help reduce the financial burden that long-term, death-delaying medical treatments can have on your loved ones.
Living Wills and Power of Attorney for Health Care
A living will work best alongside power of attorney for health care. Power of attorney for health care, or medical power of attorney, is a legal document that gives another person, known as your healthcare proxy, the ability to make decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so.
In most cases, your healthcare proxy may begin making decisions for you if:
- You received anesthesia
- You developed an illness or disease that leaves you unable to communicate
- You suffered an accident that placed you in an unconscious state
- You developed dementia and can no longer make rational choices for yourself
Your healthcare proxy can then ensure that your treatment plan aligns with your living will. Clients often combine their living wills and medical power of attorney into a document called an advanced healthcare directive.
Illinois Living Will Attorneys You Can Trust
Planning for the end of your life can provide peace of mind, especially when you work with a compassionate and experienced living will attorney.
At DeBlasio & Gower LLC, we’ll guide you through the process to make creating a living will as straightforward as possible, then ensure that your documentation aligns with state guidelines.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Illinois living will attorneys, get in touch with our team today at 630-560-1123.