You have the right to have a say in your health care and management at every stage of your life. Regardless of your current health status, a living will can protect this right by ensuring you maintain control over what happens in case of incapacitation at any point.
Many people are reluctant to draft this important legal document, but outlining your wishes and making your plans clearly known is not only smart, it can protect your Arizona family from having to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
A living will in conjunction with a health care power of attorney
Incapacitation can occur for many reasons, and a sudden illness or accident may leave you with little or no time to explain to loved ones how you wish to proceed with your care or what you want in regards to life-saving treatment. A living will cannot account for every possible medical scenario, but when used in conjunction with a health care power of attorney, you can be certain that any care you receive will be according to your wishes. The benefits of these two documents include:
- Living will: A living will outlines which medical treatments you want used and which ones you reject, your directions regarding the use of artificial means of being kept alive, and more. This document can become valid immediately upon being signed or when it has been medically determined that you are permanently incapacitated or terminally ill.
- Health care power of attorney: While a health care power of attorney can provide some of the same benefits as a living will, this documents appoints an individual to make decisions on your behalf if you are ever incapacitated. This provides additional protection in that the designated individual could make sound decisions in situations not included in your living will. This could take effect if you are ever incapacitated, even if your condition is not permanent or terminal.
While you do not have to have a health care power of attorney in order to have a living will, these two legal documents provide a great deal of protection and control regarding your interests and medical wishes.
Failure to have a plan in place could result in your loved ones making emotional, difficult decisions or becoming engaged in arguments regarding treatment you should or should not receive. With the appropriate estate plans in place, you and your family members can have peace of mind regarding the future.