Should My Estate Plan Include a Living Will?

For many people and families, the process of estate planning is focused on what will happen after a person’s death. By creating a will or using tools such as trusts, a person can make decisions about how their final affairs will be handled, including how they will pass their assets to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address how various matters will be handled before a person’s death. In addition to ensuring that they will have the financial resources they need, a person can make decisions about the medical care they will receive. This can help a family avoid uncertainty as a person gets closer to the end of their life, and the person can make sure their wishes will be followed if they become ill enough that they cannot express their preferences to others. A living will can often be the best way to address these issues.

What Is a Living Will?

A last will and testament will only take effect after a person’s death, and it will address a person’s final wishes. A living will, on the other hand, will address the medical care that a person may receive before their death. This legal document takes the form of a declaration stating a person’s preferences for medical care and treatment if they are terminally ill.

A living will is only applicable in situations where a person has an irreversible medical condition that will result in their death. Once a doctor determines that a person’s condition is terminal, and medical treatment would only serve to delay the moment of death, the living will’s terms will go into effect. These terms may address the types of medical treatment a person should receive and whether certain types of treatment should be withheld. By using a living will, a person can ensure that they will receive the proper treatment in cases where they become incapacitated and cannot make their desires known to others.

Illinois law provides a standard form that can be used for a living will. When using this form, a person will state that if they have an injury, illness, or disease that is incurable and irreversible, and a doctor has determined that their death is imminent, any medical treatment that would solely serve to delay the dying process should be withheld. This will allow the person to die naturally while receiving treatment that will make them as comfortable as possible. However, a living will can be customized to meet a person’s specific desires. A person can specify the types of treatments they want to receive or have withheld. They may state that they want to be kept alive as long as possible, or they may choose to forego all forms of treatment other than pain medication that will ease the process of dying.

Contact Our South Side of Chicago Living Will Lawyer

At The Marques Eason Law Group, we can work with you to make sure your estate plan will fully address your needs and make sure your wishes will be followed correctly. We will advise you on how you can use a living will to make sure your family members can avoid uncertainty about how matters related to your medical care will be handled. To arrange a confidential consultation, contact our Evergreen Park estate planning attorney today by calling 773-973-3755.


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