What Is a Living Will?
A medical living will is one of several legal documents that make up an estate plan, but we personally believe it is one of the most important. This document lets you lay out how you want to spend your last days. It gives your loved ones permission to let you die peacefully and painlessly. It helps to relieve decision guilt. It says to your loved ones that if the conditions in the living will are met, you want to be comfortable, but not on machines. While talking about our own death is very hard and very uncomfortable, it is very important to do, especially as we get older.
Doctors, lawyers, and your family cannot read your mind, which is why it is important to discuss your wishes and have them written down. A living will is a document that speaks for you when you are longer able to speak for yourself.
Medical Treatments Covered by a Living Will
A living will allows you to make choices regarding end-of-life care. In Arizona, this means terminal illness or injury resulting in an irreversible coma or vegetative state. Some treatments to consider include:
- CPR: If your heart stops beating, do you want the medical team to institute CPR or electric shocks to resuscitate your heart?
- Intubation: If you are no longer able to breathe on your own, do you want to be on a mechanical ventilator?
- Intravenous nutrition and hydration: Do you want your body to receive nutrients and hydration artificially?
- Palliative care: Do you want medications to manage pain? Do you prefer to die at home, or move to hospice care?
Other stipulations include organ and tissue donation. If you choose to be an organ donor, understand that this necessitates life-sustaining treatment to complete this procedure.
Arizona Living Will Requirements
A Living Will is a type of advance care directive that dictates your end-of-life medical care preferences in the event you are in an irreversible coma, persistent vegetative state, or have a terminal condition and are at the end of your life. It does not have the broad application a Health Care Power of Attorney does.
The requirements for the creation of a living will in Arizona include:
- The person making the living will is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind;
- The living will is in writing; and the language in the document clearly indicates that it is meant to create a living will;
- The living will is dated, signed and witnessed or notarized.
Schedule a Consultation With a Living Wills Law Firm in Gilbert, AZ Today!
Contact the Law Offices of Brandon White for a consultation with our highly experienced estate planning attorney for a living will. Our law firm offers the dedication to personalized attention you deserve.
Living Wills Revocation & Flexibility
Living wills are incredibly flexible documents, allowing you to make decisions that cover a wide variety of situations. They also give you the flexibility to change your mind - you are the only one who can choose whether or not to follow your living will, as long as you are not incapacitated.
It is important to note that a living will only comes into play as you near the very end of your life. It only deals with DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) issues. All other medical decisions and treatments are handled by your health care power of attorney. You will need to sign a health care power of attorney in addition to your living will.
A living will may be revoked at any time and in any manner by the creator without regard to the creator's mental or physical condition. A revocation is effective upon communication to the attending physician or other health care provider by the creator.
When Should I Make a Living Will?
The Arizona Attorney General’s office feels that life care planning is an important task for all of us. A living will is a type of advance directive, a legal document in which you outline your wishes regarding end-of-life care in case of terminal condition, irreversible coma, or a persistent vegetative state. These conditions strike at any age. Anyone over the age of 18 can benefit by having a living will. Remember, even when a child still lives at home, if he or she is 18, parents no longer have the authority to make medical decisions for that child.
Living wills do have some limitations, but used in concert with other advance medical directives, such as a durable health care power of attorney, they form a powerful part of your estate-planning portfolio.
Why Our Dedicated Phoenix Living Will Lawyer Can Help
The Arizona estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Brandon White will help you create a living will that clearly and thoroughly expresses your wishes. We will carefully listen to your concerns before we help you draft this important document. Our estate planning lawyers have the skills, resources, and experience to walk you through every step of the process.