Why Have a Living Will When I Have a Health Care Power of Attorney?

In the realm of estate planning, a living will is known as an advance directive. The document is used to communicate the maker’s wish that life-sustaining treatment be withheld or withdrawn if the maker is unable to make medical decisions and has been determined to be in a terminal or permanently unconscious condition. Regardless of this directive, health care personnel are permitted to provide comfort care for purposes of alleviating pain or discomfort.

Living Will Requirements

To make a valid living will in Illinois, the maker of the document must be an Illinois resident who is at least 18 years of age. It must be dated and signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses who must also sign the document. The original living will should then be kept in a safe place, and a copy of the will should be given to the maker’s doctor.

A Living Will Does Not Have Control Over a Health Care Power of Attorney

In Illinois, when a person is in what is believed to be a permanently unconscious or terminal state, his or her living will does not have any control over a health care power of attorney. If a valid health care power of attorney is in existence, then the agent designated in that instrument can make all health care decisions on behalf of the maker if the maker is unable to do so. A living wills lawyer in Moline, IL, will advise that decisions contradicting a living will are permissible.

Why have a living will if you have a health care power of attorney? If the agent for a health care power of attorney is unavailable during an emergency, then a person’s living will is going to be in effect. A living wills lawyer in Moline, IL, can provide effective guidance for you with this advance directive.

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