Tag: DNR

Conveying End-of-Life Wishes in an Estate Plan

Conveying end-of-life wishes in an estate plan is an extremely important goal for many people. Unfortunately, having a conversation with family members may not be enough to ensure that your wishes are carried out. By writing your wishes into your estate plan, you gain greater peace of mind.

Where Should You Include End-of-Life Wishes?

In Illinois, you can make four different kinds of advance directives that include various types of end-of-life wishes:

  • Health care power of attorney
  • Living will
  • Mental health treatment preference declaration
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Which Kinds of Wishes Can You Include?

The health care power of attorney can include instructions for your agent regarding when you want life-saving treatments and when you want them ended, when you want to refuse some kinds of treatments, anatomical gifts, and disposal of remains.

The living will tells your doctors when you want death-delaying procedures used. It usually applies only if you have a terminal condition and are unable to state your wishes to the doctors. The DNR/POLST tells your doctors whether you want to be resuscitated and your wishes for life-sustaining treatment.

The mental health treatment preference declaration allows to you say whether you want psychiatric medications or shock treatments, if you are unable to state your wishes yourself. You also can specify whether you want to be admitted to a mental health facility treatment.

How to Learn More

If you would like to learn more about including end-of-life wishes in your estate plan, contact a local estate planning attorney for help making your plan. An attorney can ensure that your estate plan is legally effective and binding on your family and doctors.

Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

Advance Health Care Directives in Illinois

In Illinois, you can sign several different types of advance health care directives. These documents allow you to specify who could make decisions for you if you were incapacitated. The types of directives include a health care power of attorney, a living will, a mental health treatment preference declaration, and a do not resuscitate order.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney allows you to choose a person as your agent. The agent can make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. You only give the agent this power if you are incapacitated, which has a specific legal meaning in Illinois.

In the health care power of attorney document, you can specify exactly which decisions your agent can make. For example, your agent could make all health care decisions for you or only a decision about when to end life support. Also, you can include instructions about making anatomical gifts or other end-of-life preferences.

Living Will

A living will tells medical providers which procedures you prefer if you have a terminal condition. Unlike a health care power of attorney, a living will applies only in case of terminal diagnoses, not just if you are incapacitated. There are limits on which treatments health care providers can cease – for example, they will not stop giving food and water if that would be the only reason for death. If you have a living will, you or an agent should notify your health care providers so that they can follow it.

Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration

The Illinois Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration allows you to specify which mental health treatments you want to receive. You can say whether you want to receive psychotropic medicines or electroconvulsive treatment, and whether you want to be admitted to a mental health facility for a short stay.

If you would like, you can name an agent in the Declaration who can make mental health decisions for you if you cannot. This agent can be the same one you name in a health care power of attorney or someone different. But you cannot choose your mental health professional as an agent.

Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR)/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

An DNR/POLST order tells doctors that you do not want to receive CPR if your breathing or heart stops. Note that you, your attending doctor, and a witness need to sign a DNR/POLST order for it to be effective in Illinois.

Want to sign an advance health care directive? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

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