Advance Directives

As hard as it can be for people to deal with death of a family member — the incapacitation of a family member can create a far more difficult, frustrating and complicated situation.

Legally speaking, if no advance directives have been put in place, individuals with no real quality of life or chances to improve it may be kept "alive" by machines while contentious courtroom battles like the one seen in the Terri Schiavo case occur.

On a more personal level, family members who don't have the guidance an advance directive provides may be forced to make life-or-death decisions that leave them second-guessing themselves for a lifetime. Moreover, the lack of naming an individual to make these decisions can lead to family disputes over who should be making decisions and what should be decided.

At Benckendorf & Benckendorf, we can help you create a legally sound living will or any other type of advance directive permitted under Illinois law. To speak with an attorney about your estate planning needs in this area — call or contact any of our firm's three central Illinois law offices directly.

Illinois Advance Directives

In Illinois, there are four different legal instruments that fall under the umbrella category of "advance directives" — each of which is briefly described below:

  • Living Will: A living will instructs your health care provider to withhold life-prolonging treatments in the event you have a terminal condition and are unable to speak on your own behalf.
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care: With a durable power of attorney for health care, you can appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make them for yourself. You also get to decide the limits of that authority by giving specific instructions for specific situations in advance. These can apply to any health care decision, not just those involving terminal, irreversible conditions.
  • Mental Health Treatment Declaration: This type of advance directive allows you to state your treatment preferences (e.g., no psychotropic drugs or treatment for certain types of disorders only) or to appoint an agent to make treatment decisions for you in the event you are left mentally incapacitated.
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive: This type of advance directive orders the health care provider not to provide CPR in an attempt to restart your heart or breathing.

We Do It Right. Our Clients Deserve It.

If you do not have an advance directive in place or have not had your existing documents reviewed for some time, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys today. To do that — just call any one of our three central Illinois office locations directly or, take a moment to contact us online.

Peoria: 309.265.0812 / Morton: 309.938.4296 / Eureka: 309-265-0812