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When Does a Living Will Go into Effect?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneysIt is a fact that many avoid thinking about, but unexpected illnesses and accidents happen to people every day. A living will is a type of advance medical directive that identifies the types of medical care you do and do not want if you cannot speak for yourself due to a major illness or injury. Through a living will, you decide in advance whether you want treatments such as dialysis, artificial ventilation, or a feeding tube to be used if you are incapacitated. Not only does a living will put you in charge of your future medical care, it also saves your loved ones the burdensome task of making important medical decisions on your behalf. If you are considering using a living will to specify your future medical wishes, you may be wondering, “When does a living will take effect?”

Determining When a Person Is Unable to Articulate Medical Wishes

A living will is used when a person has a terminal condition and is unable to express his or her wishes about death-delaying procedures. A terminal condition is typically defined as a medical condition that is incurable and will result in imminent death. The Illinois Living Will Act regulates the rules regarding living wills. In a living will, you will give a declaration explaining directions for medical care should you be unable to express these directions yourself. The declaration reads in part, “In the absence of my ability to give directions...it is my intention that this declaration shall be honored… as the final expression of my legal right to refuse medical treatment.”

A living will goes into effect when your physician decides that you can no longer express your own healthcare decisions and certifies this in writing. To make this determination, doctors typically consider whether the patient can:

  • Comprehend what medical staff are saying to him or her
  • Use information given by doctors to make medical decisions
  • Understand the consequences of different medical decisions
  • Express medical wishes to medical staff either verbally or otherwise

Contact a Lombard Living Will Attorney

A living will allows you to make decisions in advance about the types of death-delaying procedures you want to undergo if you become incapacitated. Although it can be a difficult topic to consider, creating a living will ensures that your medical wishes will be followed and that your family will not be forced to make these decisions for you. To learn more about living wills, contact an Arlington Heights estate planning lawyer from A. Traub & Associates by calling us at 630-426-0196 today.

 

Sources:

http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care-regulation/nursing-homes/advance-directives

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2110


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