Do I Need to Have My Illinois Living Will Witnessed or Notarized?

In Illinois, you must sign your health care directives in front of witnesses.

In Illinois, you may describe your health care wishes in a living will and medical power of attorney. In your living will (sometimes called a declaration), you may document the kind of health care you would like to receive if you can no longer speak for yourself. In your durable power of attorney for health care, you may name a trusted person -- called your health care agent -- to make health care decisions on your behalf in case you are no longer able to do so.

Sign Your Illinois Health Care Documents in Front of Witnesses

Your declaration must be signed by two witnesses. Neither of your witnesses may be:

  • under the age of 18
  • the person who signed your declaration for you, if you were unable to sign it yourself
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
  • a person directly financially responsible for your medical care.

Your durable power of attorney for health care must be signed by at least one witness. The witness may not be:

  • under the age of 18
  • your attending physician, advance practice nurse, physician assistant, dentist, podiatric physician, optometris, or psychologist
  • a relative of any of the health care providers listed just above
  • an owner, operator or relative of an owner or operator of a health care facility in which you are a patient or resident (this includes directors or executive officers of an operator that is a corporate entity, but not other employees of the operator, such as nonowner chaplains, social workers, or nurses)
  • a parent, sibling or descendant, or the spouse of a parent, sibling or descendant, of either you or your agent or alternate agent, regardless of whether the relationship is by blood, marriage or adoption, or
  • your agent or alternate agent for health care.

What to Do With Your Signed Documents

    After you and your witnesses sign your health care documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give a copy of each to your health care agent, if you named one. To ensure that you get the health care that you want, it’s a good idea to make your wishes widely known. You might also consider giving copies of your documents to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.

    Review your documents every few years to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Also, consider making new documents if you move to another state, get married or divorced, or if your agent is no longer able to supervise your wishes.

    Your properly finalized documents will stay in effect until you revoke them, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your documents at any time. The best way to revoke a health care document is to do it in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you may have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your documents that you have revoked them.

    Learn More

    Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

    Learn more about Illinois Declarations and Powers of Attorney for Health Care.

    When you make a living will or power of attorney for health care with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to Illinois laws -- and it will print with plain English instructions that tell you how to make it legal.

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