You’re not alone if you have strong opinions on the subject of end of life care. You may be adamant that you not be kept alive with life-prolonging treatments or equipment. You might feel strongly that pain should be alleviated using all available options when someone has a terminal illness or condition. Likewise, you probably feel strongly about who you would want to make those decisions for you should you be unable to make them yourself at some point in the future. You should include Advanced Directives in your estate plan.
Advanced Directives are legal documents created and executed by you that address important issues such as end of life medical treatment, and who will be allowed to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you cannot make them yourself. Each individual state decides what, if any, Advanced Directives will be recognized and honored as well as deciding the language and procedures that must be used to create a valid Advance Directive. The State of Illinois recognizes four types of Advanced Directives:
·Healthcare Power of Attorney – executing a Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an “Agent” who will have the legal authority to be able to make important decisions regarding your healthcare if you are unable to make them.
·Living Will – a Living Will lets you make your wishes with regard to end of life treatment known in the event you suffer from a terminal condition at some point. A terminal condition means an “incurable and irreversible condition such that death is imminent and the application of any death delaying procedures serves only to prolong the dying process.”
·Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration – this document allows you to decide if you want to receive electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) or psychotropic medicine when you have a mental illness, as well as whether or not you would want to be admitted to a mental health facility for up to 17 days of treatment should the potential need arise.
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) – when executed, a DNR Order indicates that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) cannot be used if your heart and/or breathing stops.
If you have additional questions or concerns about Advanced Directives, or would like to discuss creating and signing one (or more), contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.