For many people, it can be hard to know which estate planning tools and documents are appropriate for their circumstance. Estate planning has become almost synonymous with a Last Will and Testament, but drafting a will is by far not the only important aspect of estate planning. One estate planning tool which you may not have heard of is an advance healthcare directive—the most common type of which is a living will. A living will allows a person to make decisions about their potential future medical care in advance. If you are someone who wants to have a say in the types of medical intervention you could receive if you become incapacitated through illness or injury, an advance directive may be right for you.
A Living Will Puts You in Control
Few would argue that medical advances made in the last several decades are anything short of remarkable. Many people are able to survive and even recover from illnesses and injuries which would have led to death even just a few years ago. Because of this, more and more individuals are realizing how important it is to make decisions about medical treatment and end of life care in advance. A living will allows you to dictate the types of medical intervention you do and do not want if you are incapacitated by illness or injury. More specifically, a living will can allow you to:
- Refuse certain medical treatments;
- Know the results of your medical treatment;
- Ensure doctors follow your wishes regarding medical intervention and care; and
- Authorize medical treatments you may want in the future.
An Advance Healthcare Directive Can Help Your Family Avoid Burdensome Decisions
One of the biggest benefits of a living will is that it saves your family from having to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The famous Terri Schiavo case is a dramatic example of the importance of proper estate planning. The young woman fell into a persistent vegetative state in 1990 and required a feeding tube to live. An aggressive, public battle between Schiavo’s parents and her husband regarding her feeding tube resulted. Her husband believed Schiavo would not have wanted her life artificially prolonged in this way while her parents vehemently believed that she should be kept alive at all costs.
Family members of individuals suffering from an incapacitating medical condition often disagree about the types of life-prolonging care their loved one should receive. By creating a living will, you can significantly reduce the need for family members to make these types of burdensome decisions.
Contact a DuPage County Advance Medical Directive Lawyer
Contact our experienced Wheaton, Illinois estate planning attorneys today if you have further questions about living wills or other estate planning tools. Call 630-665-2500 to set up an initial consultation.