In Illinois, a Living Will is a legal document that tells your doctor and family that you do not want medical care that will merely delay your death without curing you, in the event that you have a terminal condition. Without having a Living Will in place, your family is left to make a very difficult decision about whether or not to extend your life if you are terminally ill.
In order to make an Illinois Living Will, you need to be at least 18 years of age and an Illinois resident, and you must sign the Living Will document in the presence of two disinterested witnesses, who also sign the document. Once you have done this, it is advisable to give a copy of your Living Will to your doctor for his/her reference.
Does a Living Will trump a Power of Attorney for Health Care in Illinois?
In Illinois, a Living Will does not trump a Power of Attorney for Health Care. Thus, if you have a valid Power of Attorney for Health Care in place, your Agent will be able to make all medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable, even decisions contradicting your Living Will declaration.
A Living Will, however, is still an effective document to have as part of your overall estate plan. If your Agent under a Power of Attorney for Health Care is unavailable to make an emergency decision, your Living Will is still in effect to direct your doctor and family regarding your medical care if you have a terminal condition. Also, a Living Will can provide your Agent with direction with these difficult “end of life” decisions.
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