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IL estate lawyerWriting your own will can seem like an intimidating process. Before starting, it is important to be fully aware of the purpose of the will, the will’s consequences, and the legal requirements that must be met. Take some time to study the needed steps required to fulfill your wishes after death and make the best decisions for yourself.

What Is the Purpose of a Will?

After death, a will allows you to control the distribution of your assets. Included in the will is the nomination of a trusted executor who will carry this distribution task out for you. Among other duties, this executor will also appoint a guardian to any minor children you may have. In essence, wills are designed to protect your family and your property. The Illinois state “intestacy” laws will come into effect if you do not create a will before you pass. Intestacy laws distribute your assets to your closest relatives.

What Legal Requirements Must Be Met for Your Will to Be Valid?

There are two main requirements for your will to be legal in the state of Illinois.

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Posted on in Estate Planning

Illinois living will, DuPage County estate planning lawyerliving will is a document decided before death that prescribes the medical attention you choose in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. According to the Illinois General Assembly, the Living Will Act was passed to ensure that every state resident had the fundamental right to control the decisions related to his or her own medical care. This means that these decisions are not left to chance or to family in the event that sickness or other incapacitating factor makes the person unable to decide for himself.

Proponents of living wills say that these are matters of patient rights—physicians are not able to withhold or withdraw death-delaying procedures if a patient has signed a living will. For a living will to be valid, it needs to be signed by the patient (before he or she experienced the debilitating conditions) in the presence of a witness. The death-delaying procedures can include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisted ventilation; or
  • Intravenous feeding or medication; or
  • Blood transfusions; or
  • Artificial kidney treatments.

Determining a living will before a person becomes sick is essential, as discussing a person's last wishes when he or she is straddled with debilitating disease can be difficult and emotional. According to a recent article in The Guardian, however, a living will can sometimes be a negative thing for physicians. In certain cases, physicians can be backed into providing treatment far after a patient's body has ceased functioning because he or she signed a living will—which is sometimes decades old.

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