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Estate planning: When Illinois residents have chronic illnesses

When people are dealing with a chronic illness -- or a beloved family member is -- there are things that should be discussed even when discussing them can be delicate. Life is unpredictable in the best of circumstances, but for Illinois residents who live with chronic illness, it may be even more so. But having a talk about estate planning may be one of the most important talks in these instances. 

Estate planning should reflect a chronic illness. Currently, more than 130 million Americans are living with some sort of illness that affects them daily and the older people get, the more likely they are to become sufferers. If a chronic illness affects a person's understanding and cognitive behavior any current estate planning documents should likely reflect those changes. For instance, if a person is diagnosed with dementia, changes should be made to an estate plan while he or she still has the mental capacity to do so.

There are some documents that are pretty important to have in place such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability releases which authorizes an individual to access a testator's private and protected health information. This document can be crucial for allowing this person to assist health care providers. A living will is also another document a person should consider since it chronicles health care wishes. 

There are other documents such as health care proxy, a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment, a financial power of attorney and a revocable trust with which an Illinois estate planning attorney would be able to help. Living with a chronic illness is stressful in itself. But knowing the proper legal documents are in place may make life a little less stressful for such individuals and their family members. 

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