Call Today! 309-694-3196



A Living Will is a legal document that defines the level of medical care that a person does or doesn’t want in the event they become unable to communicate their wishes. A Living Will is sometimes referred to as a medical directive, an advance directive, or a health care proxy.

In a situation where a patient becomes unconscious and suffers from a terminal illness or other life threatening injury, the Living Will will be used as a reference document by the doctor(s) and hospital(s) to determine if the patient wants life sustaining treatment or not.

If there is not a Living Will, the medical care decisions fall to the spouse, family members, or other third parties. It’s possible that the other parties may not know the patient’s intent concerning the treatment. It’s also possible that they may choose to not follow the patient’s desires, whether written or verbal.

When Does A Living Will Become Effective?

When the patient is facing a life threatening condition and unconscious.

What’s In A Living Will?

Many medical procedures common with life threatening situations are addressed in a Living Will. Such as:

  • Resuscitation via electric shock
  • Ventilation
  • Dialysis

The Living Will can allow some of these procedures or none of them. It can also define the patient’s wishes concerning organ and tissue donation after death has occurred. Patients can also express their intent to receive pain medication when going through their final hours.

How Does A Living Will Differ From A Health Care Proxy?

The Living Will expresses the end desires of the patient.
The health care proxy has the authority to discuss other medical issues that may arise with the doctor and make decisions based on the circumstances.


  • Dialysis: (Medicine) the process by which different wastes (such as uric acid and urea) are removed from circulating blood by means of a dialysis machine.
  • Directive: an instruction or direction from an authority; a specific order.
  • Proxy: the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the agent, deputy, or substitute for another. a person so authorized.
  • Resuscitation: to revive, especially from apparent death or from unconsciousness.
  • Ventilation: the act of ventilating. To assist the breathing of (a person), as with a respirator.

More Questions? Contact us today:

Dad on beach with two children during sunset

Williams, Williams, & Bembenek P.C. is fully licensed Central Illinois law firm equipped to provide you with all the Estate Planning services you need for peace of mind. The law firm has provided guardianship and conservatorship for their clients in the Peoria Tri-County and surrounding areas for over 50 years.

While no one wants to think about their own death or disability, creating an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your money and family finances. Proper estate planning puts you in charge of your finances and can also relieve your loved ones of the expenses, delays and frustration that come with managing your financial affairs when you die or become disabled.

Contact our experienced lawyers for a free initial consultation or more information regarding:

Proudly serving clients throughout Peoria county; Tazewell and Woodford counties. Call us now for a free initial consultation.

If you need assistance with a legal service that’s not listed here, please don’t hesitate to contact us.