Healthcare Directives Lawyer in Arizona
Healthcare Directives in Arizona
Have you ever wondered what might happen to you if you become incapacitated or unable to choose medical treatments for yourself? You are not alone. Many people have strong opinions about end-of-life decisions such as organ donation and life support procedures. For situations such as these, all 50 U.S. states have laws that permit citizens to create “advance directives.”
Also known as “healthcare directives,” advance directives give you the opportunity to make decisions about potential medical and end-of-life treatments. Advance directives also allow you to appoint a healthcare representative to make certain choices for you.
In Arizona, residents can store important documents such as advance directives in the Arizona Advance Directive Registry. Loved ones or healthcare providers can consult the registry in the event of incapacitation.
It can be difficult to make decisions about medical scenarios or end-of-life circumstances. However, the knowledgeable and compassionate Arizona family attorneys at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC are here to help. We will carefully walk you through your options so you can make the choices that are best for you and your family.
We are here to answer all of your questions. Call us today or reach out online for a consultation.
What to Consider When Preparing Your Healthcare Directive
If you decide to prepare a healthcare directive, you should consider any medical procedures you may or may not want in the future. Many people discuss their choices with loved ones, a religious leader or doctors before committing to any final wishes. While you cannot predict every situation that could arise, you can provide general guidance to physicians or healthcare representatives who may need to make decisions for you.
Common considerations in healthcare planning address these questions:
- Quality of life – What does “quality of life” mean to you? The ability to live and move independently, or simply the ability to communicate and think for yourself?
- Comfort care – What are your healthcare decisions about pain medication, breathing tubes, feeding tubes and the general comfort of a patient?
- Life support – What are your preferences regarding life support in different circumstances, such as a pregnancy or a persistent vegetative state?
- Organ donation – When you die, do you want to donate any of your tissues or organs? If so, which tissues or organs and to which organizations?
- Autopsy – In some cases, an autopsy may be required. If an autopsy is optional, do you want an autopsy? Can your representative decide that issue for you?
- Final arrangements – If you are dying, do you have preferences about any medications you may be given, the people who are around you, or where you die? Do you want a burial, cremation or memorial service after you pass?
Steps for Preparing Your Healthcare Directive
After you have considered your healthcare preferences and discussed future plans with family or advisors, you can begin preparing your official healthcare directive. You should take these steps to formally and legally record your wishes:
- Gather the materials and forms you need, such as the forms for Healthcare Power of Attorney, Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney, or a Living Will. Many useful forms are contained in the state of Arizona’s Life Care Planning Packet.
- Fill out the forms as necessary, making sure to appoint a healthcare representative who fully understands your preferences.
- Have the forms notarized or signed by a witness once they are complete.
- Make copies of the notarized form to give to your chosen representative.
- File your directives with the Advance Directive Registry by mailing photocopies to the Arizona Secretary of State. Submitting original documents is not necessary.
- Store a copy of your notarized forms with those online records if you maintain any of your personal or medical records online.
Duties of the Healthcare Representative
When you appoint a healthcare representative in an advance directive, you designate that person as the decision-maker for any future medical or life-support decisions that you are unable to make for yourself. The potential duties for a healthcare representative may include:
- Communicating with medical teams
- Reviewing medical charts and records
- Asking relevant healthcare questions
- Evaluating different treatment options
- Seeking consultations and second opinions
- Allowing or refusing certain tests or treatments
- Authorizing facility or physician transfers
- Deciding whether to continue artificial life support
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Healthcare Directives
Your attorney will review your options and answer questions about your healthcare directive. We have provided our answers to a few commonly asked questions.
Arizona advance healthcare directives must be signed by either a notary or an adult witness who is not a family member, heir, caregiver or representative. Neighbors, friends and acquaintances 18 years or older may sign as witnesses.
Legally recorded advance healthcare directives remain in effect until you decide to change them yourself.
To make changes to any advance directive, you can simply complete and submit a new form, which will invalidate any old directives. In Arizona, you may also cancel your directives at any time, either verbally or in writing.
If you receive medical treatment in another state, that state’s laws apply, and your advance directive may or may not be honored. If you frequently spend time in more than state, you may want to prepare a healthcare directive that complies with all applicable state laws in that location.
You are not required to hire an attorney to help prepare your healthcare directive. However, many people find that lawyers are helpful in answering questions about directives and guiding them through their legal options.
How an Arizona Healthcare Directive Lawyer Can Help You
While it is possible to prepare your advance directives on your own, the assistance of a skilled Arizona healthcare directive attorney can add a layer of certainty to the process. A lawyer’s professional experience and knowledge of applicable state laws can ensure your final wishes are honored. Giving a copy of your healthcare directives to an attorney ensures that your family will know where to find them in the future.
If you require the services of an advance directive and estate planning lawyer, turn to the legal team of Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC. For more than two decades, we have provided compassionate representation for Arizona families just like yours. We have offices in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, and Tucson.