no need to leave your home to receive legal consultations and services - Call or click to learn more about phone and videoconferencing with our attorneys

Illinois Living Wills Explained | What is a Living Will?

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

What is a living will? In this article we will explain living wills in Illinois and discuss using a Living Will to provide for end of life instruction.  This article is the fifth in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan.  

In our previous article, we discussed using a Healthcare Power of Attorney to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are mentally incompetent.  A Living Will is a tool used to make the decision, while you are still mentally competent, to terminate life-sustaining treatment in the event that you are in an irreversible vegetative state.  The Living Will takes this decision out of the hands of your healthcare agent.

​If you have a Living Will in your medical file, your physician is instructed to terminate life-sustaining treatment if you are in a vegetative state and the doctor does not believe that there is any continued purpose to life-sustaining treatment other than keeping you perpetually in that vegetative state.  Essentially, the doctor will terminate life support if he or she does not believe there is a realistic chance of bringing you out of a coma.  In the absence of a Living Will, your healthcare agent or next of kin (in the absence of a Healthcare Power of Attorney) would be charged with making the decision of whether to continue life-sustaining treatment.

Whether to include a Living Will in your estate plan is a purely personal choice.  It is not something that I advise either for or against.

‍The reasons that my clients typically choose to execute a Living Will are:

  • to avoid saddling their loved ones with the emotional burden of terminating life sustaining treatment;
  • they are strongly opposed to be kept in a vegetative state for an extended period of time due to their loved ones’ unwillingness to let go; and
  • they wish to avoid saddling their loved ones with the cost of extended life-sustaining treatment.

As an alternative to a living will, many clients will simply leave either verbal or written instruction as to their wishes with their healthcare agents.  There is even a portion of the Healthcare Power of Attorney that allows you to provide this instruction, while leaving the ultimate legal decision-making power in your loved ones’ hands.

Additional Financial Considerations
from Financial Experts

From Financial Experts

For many years, financial institutions have been creating a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole for years.
View More Professional Considerations

Presented By O'Flaherty Law

living will definition

Need Legal Help? 

Schedule a
Consultation

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Leave a Comment With Your Questions

Read more about

Estate Planning

We offer free, paid & Online CONSULTATION in:

Estate Planning

Schedule a consultation with our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys

We offer free, paid & online consultation in nearly every area of law throughout Illinois and Iowa. We have a range of options to assist you with your legal needs.

What happens at a legal consultation?
Meet with an attorney for a free consultation to discuss what type of matter you need to discuss with an attorney.
Over the Phone Legal Consultations
Similar to In-person consultations, you discuss your legal needs with our attorneys to discuss your matter.
An online consultation is like an in-person and an over the phone online Consultation. You meet face to face with our attorneys through our online portal.
Paid Legal Consultations
While a free consultation allows us to discuss what we can do in general terms for your legal matter, a paid consultation allows us to answer direct questions.

More Illinois Wills and Trust Law Episodes

contact us

Monday to Friday
9am - 5pm

Contact Us
Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a free consultation for legal advice specific to your situation.

Here are some articles that may interest you
Schedule a
Consultation

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in:

Who We Are
We are your community law firm. Our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.

Some of Our Accomplishments

Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago
DuPage County Probate Attorney
Kevin P. O'Flaherty
Rated by Super Lawyers


loading ...
Naperville attorney
DuPage County Probate Attorney

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required