As hard as it can be for people to deal with a family member’s death, 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 may be kept alive by machines while contentious courtroom battles 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. Moreover, the failure to appoint an individual to make these decisions can lead to family disputes over who should and what they ultimately should do.
At Benckendorf & Benckendorf, P.C., we can help you create a legally sound living will or other type of advance directive permitted under Illinois law. 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 estate planning attorneys today.
Just call any one of our central Illinois office locations or contact us online.
Illinois Advance Directives
In Illinois, four different legal instruments fall under the umbrella category of advance directives:
- 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 leaving specific instructions for specific situations. This authority can apply to any health care decision, not just those involving terminal conditions.
- Mental Health Treatment Declaration: This type of advance directive allows you to state your treatment preferences (e.g., no psychotropic drugs or treatment only for certain types of disorders) 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: A DNR orders the health care provider not to provide CPR in an attempt to restart your heart or breathing.