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Sun City West Lawyer Helping With Advance Directives

Arizona law firm enables families to make decisions before trouble happens

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to clearly articulate your preferences regarding lifesaving medical interventions. Many people don’t include advance directives in their estate planning, but these crucial documents can save your family heartache during a medical crisis. No one wants to force their family members to make hasty decisions under extreme duress. At Pennington Law — Estate Planning, PLLC, I can advise you on the various contingencies you can address in an advance directive so that a clear plan for your treatment exists in case you lose the ability to communicate.

What is an advance directive?

Advance directives empower you to manage your own medical and financial concerns, even while disabled, by setting forth instructions on various matters. Two forms of advance directives are:

  • Living wills — This document states what kind of medical care you wish to receive or to have withheld should you be too sick or injured to express your wishes. These are not wills in the conventional sense, as they do not distribute property and are meant to be executed while the person is alive.
  • Durable powers of attorney — In the event that you are not able to participate in decisions about your medical treatment or financial matters, a power of attorney authorizes someone you trust to make choices on your behalf. A power of attorney does not have to go into effect immediately. You can execute the document, making the power contingent on the occurrence of some triggering event, such as your illness or incapacity. A medical power of attorney empowers someone you trust to be your advocate with medical professionals.

At Pennington Law — Estate Planning, PLLC, I take the time to discuss each of these options so that you can be comfortable that every item you wish to address is covered appropriately.

Prudent counsel advises on do not resuscitate orders

If someone is terminally ill or so frail that they are unlikely to recover from available forms of treatment, a DNR instructs medical personnel to refrain from performing CPR and other lifesaving measures. This is a difficult decision which is usually made in consultation with medical personnel. Filing a DNR can spare your loved one from resuscitation attempts or from extended existence in a vegetative state when there is no reasonable chance of recovery.

Disputes related to an advance directives

Protracted court battles can erupt among family members over the treatment of incapacitated relatives. Issues that may arise include:

  • What level of care would your loved one want if he or she could communicate?
  • What course of treatment would be most effective?
  • Who is the proper person to make healthcare decisions?
  • Should a patient be taken off life support?
  • Are life-prolonging measures appropriate if the prognosis for recovery is poor?

While interested parties debate these issues, treatment for the incapacitated loved one can be delayed, thereby reducing the chances of a favorable outcome. But even in a terminal case, disputes can be destructive. Instead of making their peace with their beloved relative, family members may find themselves in bitter squabbles with each other.

An advance directive is designed to give you reassurance and peace of mind during a stressful time. It provides a clear path forward for family members and for medical professionals serving the incapacitated patient. I strive to construct documents unambiguously so that there is no room for misinterpretation or argument. This helps your family avoid emotional turmoil, as well as expensive litigation, and move forward. If a dispute arises, I bring the utmost sensitivity to your dilemma while asserting your rights and pursuing the best possible outcome for you and your loved one.

Contact an Arizona attorney to aid you in drafting and executing an advance directive

Pennington Law — Estate Planning, PLLC drafts advance directives for clients in Surprise, West Sun City, Buckeye and vicinity. Call 623-208-7867 or contact me online to schedule a consultation. Home and hospital visits are also available.