Advance Directives in Buckeye, AZ

Do your family members know your preferences if a sudden accident or illness incapacitates you? Do you want a specific person to make decisions for you? In Arizona, advance directives can clarify your wishes and avoid putting your family in a challenging position if the unexpected occurs.   

The Buckeye estate planning attorneys at Pennington Law, PLLC can help you create a clear, effective advance directive that addresses the types of medical care and end-of-life measures you want taken in an emergency. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll explain how we can assist you with advanced directives in Buckeye and any other estate planning needs.

What are Advance Directives?

An advance directive, also called a healthcare directive in Arizona, is a legal document that allows you to outline your medical preferences for treatment if you cannot make choices yourself. It also allows you to appoint someone, known as your healthcare representative, to make certain decisions for you. Your healthcare directive can be stored in the Arizona Advance Directive Registry, which family members and medical providers can consult to ensure their actions align with what you want.  

By creating an advance directive, you can guide your loved ones and healthcare professionals on handling your medical treatment and relieve them of unnecessary burdens.

In Arizona, two primary documents comprise an advance directive. They are:

Living Wills

A living will spells out your wishes for medical treatment if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

Though living wills typically focus on issues related to end-of-life care or life-sustaining treatment, they can cover a wide range of healthcare decisions. You can specify your treatment preferences for pain management, organ or tissue donation, and other medical interventions. By outlining your wishes clearly, a living will helps ensure your family and health care providers make decisions that align with your values. Notably, living wills only take effect when a person cannot communicate their own wishes.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is another type of advance directive. This document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person, called your healthcare agent or healthcare proxy, will choose your medical care based on your instructions and their understanding of your values. 

Like a living will, a healthcare power of attorney can cover a broad range of medical decisions. Your healthcare agent will have the authority to decide about surgeries, medications, and other treatments, and they are obligated to manage your medical treatment according to your wishes.

Importance of Advance Directives in Buckeye

Advance care planning through healthcare directives provides clear, legally recognized instructions for your medical care, which helps guide your family and healthcare providers. Having an advance directive preserves your medical choices for future reference, reducing stress and confusion during critical moments. This clarity helps avoid conflicts among your family members, who might have different opinions about your care.

Additionally, advance directives ensure that your health care decisions align with your beliefs. By planning ahead, you can make sure you receive treatment that follows your wishes, even in unexpected situations. Overall, advance directives protect your autonomy even when you cannot voice your opinions.

Legal Requirements in Arizona

Creating a legally valid advance directive in Arizona involves several specific steps to ensure the documents are recognized and enforceable.

Living Will Requirements

  • Age and mental capacityArizona law says you must be a legal adult of sound mind to draft a living will, meaning you understand what you are signing and the document’s implications.
  • Written document—Your living will must clearly state your health care preferences. It should specify your wishes regarding medical treatments, including end-of-life care and other medical interventions.
  • Signature and date – You must sign and date the living will. If you cannot sign the document yourself, another person can sign on your behalf, but this person cannot be one of the witnesses.
  • Witnesses or notary – At least one adult who is not related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption and who will not benefit financially from your death must witness you or your representative sign the living will. Alternatively, a notary public can notarize the document instead of a witness.

Healthcare Power of Attorney Requirements

  • Age and mental capacity – Similar to a living will, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to draft a healthcare power of attorney under Arizona law.
  • Written document –The healthcare power of attorney must be written and name a trusted person (your agent or proxy) to make medical decisions on your behalf.
  • Signature and date—You must sign and date the document. If you cannot sign, another person can, provided they are not the agent or one of the witnesses.
  • Witnesses or notary – At least one adult who is not related to you and will not benefit from your death must witness the signing of the document. Alternative, a notary public can notarize the document.

How Pennington Law, PLLC Can Assist You

Pennington Law, PLLC can help you to create an advance directive to ensure your healthcare wishes are clearly stated and legally binding. Our experienced team will help you understand how living wills and healthcare powers of attorney can benefit you and advise on other estate planning tools that might help you plan for the future.

Whether you’re young or old, we understand that thinking about death can be unsettling. Our lawyers approach discussions about end-of-life care with compassion. We will answer your questions with sensitivity and provide guidance on how the decisions you make today can make a difference for you and your family.

Nothing you put in an advance directive is written in stone — if you change your mind about your medical treatment, our attorneys can always update your healthcare directive to reflect your new wishes. The most important thing is to have a document in place to avoid stressful situations for you, your family, and your healthcare providers. 

Ready to learn more? Call or contact us now for a free consultation with a Buckeye advance directives attorney.