A living will in Arizona is an important written document that protects your freedom to make decisions about your medical care, before you’re in a position where you’re not able to communicate those yourself. Creating an Arizona living will is a straightforward process. It can be done with the aid of an attorney or with DIY living will forms.
What is a living will?
All of us have a constitutional right to make our own medical treatment decisions for issues such as:
- Life support
- End-of-life care
- Organ donation
If you were in a persistent vegetative state or coma, however, you would be unable to communicate those decisions. Setting up a living will in Arizona beforehand helps you clarify your wishes on these topics. And it makes it easier for your family members if they have to make these decisions for you.
What is a medical power of attorney?
When you create a state of Arizona living will, you may also want to draft a healthcare or medical power of attorney document. This document often goes hand-in-hand with a living will. It spells out who is responsible for your medical care when you are no longer able to do so yourself.
In Arizona, the person you appoint to make decisions on your behalf is called the “agent.” Your agent must be at least 18. They should be someone who is trustworthy, dependable, and calm under pressure. The person does not have to live in Arizona, but they should be willing and able to travel, if necessary.
If you don’t appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf, and you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your choices, healthcare providers will contact the following people, in this order, to make your medical decisions:
- Spouse, unless legally separated
- Adult children
- Domestic partner
- Close friend
Your agent or appointed representative will make decisions about your care by:
- First, following your expressed wishes from a living will
- If there isn’t one, using their own judgment based on what they believe you would choose
- If they’re unsure of your wishes, using their own good faith to make decisions that would be in your best interest
Living will vs. trust or last will and testament: What are the differences?
There’s often a lot of confusion between living wills, last will and testaments, and living trusts.
A state of Arizona living will outlines your wishes about end-of-life medical care. A last will and testament and a living trust are legal documents that spell out your desires with regards to your assets and the care of your dependents upon your death.
A living will is important because it communicates decisions for your care before you die.
How do I create an Arizona living will?
A state of Arizona living will can be drafted with the help of an attorney or DIY living will forms provided by the state. Many people use state forms like those provided by the Arizona Attorney General to draft their own documents. However, it is always wise to have an attorney review your documents, even if you complete them yourself.
An attorney can help you achieve the results you desire with any legal documents you want prepared. In the case of a living will, if you have specific requests that you want to ensure are adhered to for your end-of-life care, it is wise to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney. This is especially important if there are family members who have differing views about your future medical care.
And, even if you decide to complete your own forms, it is always wise to seek legal review by a qualified attorney before finalizing and executing your documents to be sure you have accomplished your desired goals.
An attorney will also help ensure that your living will and other medical directives comply with the law and provide the best protections for your future medical care.
And, while most states have similar life care planning laws, these laws can be slightly different. If you spend a considerable amount of time in more than one state, an attorney can verify that your living will is in compliance with these state laws.
Once you’re finished with your living will, the Arizona Secretary of State provides a free registry to electronically store and access your state of Arizona living will forms and powers of attorney. You or your attorney can file these by mail or in person in Phoenix or Tucson.
It is never too early to start thinking about your end-of-life care. You can create an Arizona living will quickly and easily to guarantee your own peace of mind. If you need help creating your living will, or have legal questions about your situation, contact the attorneys at ARTEMiS Law Firm today to discuss your options.