A living will lets people know what kind of medical care patients want if they are unable to speak for themselves.
A durable power of attorney for health care names a person to make medical decisions for a patient if he or she can’t make them. This person, chosen by the patient, is called a health care proxy.
Other legal papers that are not part of the advance directives:
A will tells how a person wants to divide money and property among his or her heirs. (Heirs are usually the surviving family members. Other people may also be named as heirs in a will.)
A trust appoints the person a patient chooses to manage money for him or her.
Power of attorney appoints a person to make financial decisions for the patient when he or she can’t make them.
A lawyer does not always need to be present when you fill out these papers. However, a notary public may be needed. Each state has its own laws about advance directives. Check with your lawyer or social worker about the laws in Illinois.