Illinois End of Life Guide

Advance Directives 

Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to make known your end-of-life care ahead of time. The state of Illinois recognizes your right to decide the terms of your own medical treatment and to assign a person to make those decisions when you are not able to do so. 

Here are some important questions to consider before beginning this process:

  • Is this document(s) state specific? No

  • Does this document(s) need to be notarized? No

  • Does this document(s) require witnesses? If so, how many? Yes / 2

  • Can you legally use Aging With Dignity's 5 Wishes DocYes

In the state of Illinois, there are two separate forms required for a complete Advance Directive - A Living Will and a Health Care Proxy form. Click the buttons below to download these forms:



(Source: Illinois Department of Public Health)

Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity laws allow the dying more control of their death and end-of-life decisions. These laws allow terminally-ill, able-minded state residents to request and receive prescription medication to hasten their death.

In Illinois, Death With Dignity legislation has not been passed nor submitted under a House or Senate bill.

Designated Funeral Agent

Illinois law supports the appointment of a designated funeral agent to follow through on your written personal preferences (see below) or make funeral arrangements on your behalf if no written preferences are indicated. The law allowing this is found under in 755 of Illinois Statutes, Estates, Disposition of Remains Act

There are several options for designating a funeral agent: the official form, your own form signed in front of a notary public, or giving the power to your health care agent by using a health care power of attorney. The use of a funeral director is required.

The appointment of a designated funeral agent will override the next-of-kin's usual authority and let the citizen designate whom he/she wants to control the disposition of his body.

Financial Assistance

The Illinois Department of Human Services, which suffered a recent fund-cut in 2015 by Gov. Rauner, may once again pay for indigent person's burial and funeral expenses. As of May 1st, 2015, Rauner has reinstated the annual budget.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Illinois is one of 10 states that does not allow the family all power in home funerals or has conflicting law, necessitating the use of a funeral director for some purposes. The Illinois Administrative code defines a “funeral director or person acting as such” to include only funeral directors and their employees.

Check with the National Home Funeral Alliance for up-to-date details on how to navigate home funerals in Illinoia and when it is required to involve a licensed funeral director.

Personal Preference Law

Personal preference laws for body disposition obligate your survivors to follow your written [or verbal] personal preferences. This often goes hand-in-hand with designating a funeral agent to follow through with your funeral or body disposition preferences.

In Illinois, chapter 755 of Illinois Statutes, Estates, Disposition of Remains Act allows you to indicate your personal preferences and designated funeral agent in a written format. We always recommend outlining your funeral preference in writing and sharing them with your designated funeral agent, next-of-kin, or spouse, giving you the best chance of having them seen through or upheld in the courts.