A thorough and properly executed will should not only outline who will get what once a testator dies but should also include information about end-of-life medical decisions. Those who make these plans ahead of time can clearly specify to loved ones what they wish to happen in the event of incapacitation. There are two ways to relay those wishes to health care providers and family members alike: Creating a living will or advance directive and establishing a Health Care Power of Attorney. Preparing for this eventuality can make all the difference when it comes to preventing a will contest, so if you have questions about establishing your own end-of-life wishes, please contact Alan Orlowsky today.
Living Wills and Advance Directives
Living wills and advance directives are essentially written sets of instructions that outline the types of medical treatment a person wants to accept or avoid in the event of incapacitation. For instance, some people do not want to make use of artificial hydration and nutrition if near death, while others may wish to receive certain life sustaining procedures, including the use of dialysis and breathing machines, as well as feeding tubes.
Some individuals choose to avoid the use of any resuscitation measures at all. Those who fall under this category should also consider filling out a “do not resuscitate,” or DNR order. When completed and filed with the hospital, these orders will ensure that a person is not subject to resuscitation in the event of severe injury or illness.
Testators can be as detailed or as general as they wish when drafting an advance directive.
Regardless of the degree of specificity, however, testators should remember to review their estate plan periodically to ensure that the documents still reflect their wishes.
Health Care Power of Attorney
Testators should also consider designating a loved one as their Health Care Power of Attorney. These individuals can make decisions about a testator’s treatment and or health care when that person is no longer able to do so. It’s important to note that those who have been granted power of attorney for health care are not allowed to make decisions that contradict a testator’s advance directive, as health care providers use these documents as their primary source of direction. While unable to overrule any provisions contained in a living will or advance directive, someone with a Health Care Power of Attorney can supplement a testator’s wishes if something comes up that was not anticipated. Essentially, these individuals are tasked with making decisions (on someone else’s behalf), that weren’t covered by the terms of a living will or advance directive.
Schedule an Initial Consultation with an Experienced Chicagoland Contested Estates Lawyer
To consult with a member of our legal team about your own end-of-life wishes, including how to go about establishing an advance directive or Health Care Power of Attorney, please call Alan Orlowsky at 847-325-5559 today.