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Do You Have a Living Will in Place?

Posted in Wills and Trusts on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Many people think wills and other estate planning documents are only for older adults, people with life threatening conditions, or those with considerable assets. Unfortunately, the fact is that accidental injuries and sudden illnesses can happen at any age, and without the proper paperwork in place, your loved ones are forced to assume the burden of having to guess what you might have wanted. Living wills are a type of advance directive that can help alleviate this burden, and are something that all of us should take the time to create.

Living Wills

The Mayo Clinic advises that a living will is a type of advance health directive that lets your family members and friends know your medical preferences, in the event you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself. In the event of a sudden accident or illness that leaves you unconscious or in a coma, a living will serves as a guide for doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals, sparing your loved ones the burden of making heart rending decisions on your behalf.

It is important to discuss your feelings about end of life issues with your doctor and any close family members you have. Options to consider in creating a living will include:

  • Resuscitation orders, in the event your heart stops beating;
  • Mechanical ventilation, if you are unable to breathe on your own;
  • Tube feedings, which supplies your body with nutrients intravenously;
  • Dialysis, in the event your kidneys stop functioning;
  • Organ and tissue donations, in the event you do not recover from your injuries.

While these are not the most pleasant conversations to have, discussing it now can help eliminate confusion or disputes during times of grief for your family.

Advance Directives

In addition to a living will, the Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends granting power of attorney (POA), which is an advance directive authorizing someone to make important decisions on your behalf. The two types of POAs are:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney: This grants authority to make health decisions, such as types of treatments, placement at various medical facilities, and provisions for end of life care.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: This authorizes the person you name to act as your agent in managing your financial affairs, such as paying bills, in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

Creating these documents is a relatively simple process, which can spare your loved ones heartache in the event the unexpected occurs. Call or contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C. online today and request a consultation to discuss your options with our experienced Will County estate planning attorneys.

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