When Should Advance Directives Be Included in an Estate Plan?

In many cases, the process of estate planning will be focused on how a person’s final affairs will be handled after their death. By creating a will or establishing different types of trusts, a person can make sure their wishes will be followed when the property they own is distributed to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address a variety of issues that will affect a person prior to their death, including matters related to their medical care and finances. By establishing advance directives, a person can ensure that their wishes will be followed correctly throughout the rest of their life.

Advance Directives Addressing Medical Treatment and Other Issues

A person can make decisions in advance about the types of care they want to receive and how matters related to their property and finances will be handled. These directives will apply in situations where a person becomes incapacitated (such as when they are unconscious or in a coma) or experiences conditions that affect their ability to make decisions or communicate their wishes to others. Advance directives that may be created as part of a person’s estate plan include:

  • Powers of attorney – With this type of legal agreement, a person can name someone who is authorized to make decisions for them. There are two types of powers of attorney, with a power of attorney for property addressing issues related to a person’s income, assets, and finances, and a power of attorney for healthcare addressing medical treatment and other forms of personal care. Powers of attorney can be very flexible, and they may only apply in certain situations or to certain types of decisions. A person can also specify their wishes for how different issues should be handled if they ever become incapacitated or are unable to express their wishes to others.

  • Living will – This document will apply in situations where a person is terminally ill and cannot make their wishes about their medical care known. It will address whether a person does or does not want to receive certain types of life-sustaining care. For example, a living will may state that a person only wishes to receive treatment to ease their pain and provide them with comfort before they die rather than being kept alive as long as possible.

  • Mental health declaration – This document may function similarly to a power of attorney for healthcare, but it will be limited to situations involving treatments provided in mental health facilities. It may specify whether a person should be admitted to a mental hospital or whether they do or do not want to receive different types of treatment, including psychiatric medications or electroconvulsive therapy.

  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) order – A person may sign an order stating that they do not want to be revived if their breathing or heart stops. In Illinois, this type of order is also known as a practitioner order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST), and it may specify the situations in which CPR or other forms of resuscitation should or should not be used.

Contact Our Beverly Advance Directives Lawyer

As you create a comprehensive estate plan, you will want to understand your options for making decisions about end-of-life medical care or other issues that you may face in the future. At The Marques Eason Law Group, we can explain your options for creating advance directives that will meet your needs, and we will make sure all legal documents are set up correctly. Contact our Evergreen Park estate planning attorney today at 773-973-3755 to learn more about your options.




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