A well thought out and properly drafted estate plan can go a long way toward protecting you and your assets while you are alive along with providing for the distribution of your estate after you are gone. Furthermore, it can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment will also be honored through the use of advance directives. A Phoenix estate planning attorney at Morris Hall PLLC explains why you should execute an advance directive.
What Is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a legal document that allow you to plan and make your own end-of life wishes known if you are unable to communicate those wishes at some later time. State law dictates which type of advance directives are recognized in a particular state; however, there are three types of commonly used advance directives that might be recognized in a particular state, including:
- Living Will – lets you make decisions about your own health care ahead of time
- Health care power of attorney – lets you appoint an Agent to make health care decisions for you
- Do not resuscitate order (DNR) – instructs emergency responders to not use lifesaving treatments or tools to resuscitate you if you are found, outside a medical facility, and you are not breathing.
In the State of Arizona, the following two types of advance directives are recognized:
- Health Care Power of Attorney – allows you to appoint an Agent to make decisions about your medical care—including decisions about life sustaining treatments—if you can no longer speak for yourself.
- Living Will –lets you state your wishes about medical care in the event that you develop a terminal condition or are permanently unconscious and can no longer make your own medical decisions. Your Living Will may control or guide your Agent’s decisions regarding your health care treatment.
Reasons to Execute Your Advance Directive
In case you need any additional incentive to incorporate an advance directive into your estate plan, consider the following five reasons you need one:
- Maintaining control — In the absence of an advance directive, someone not of your choosing could end up making critical health care decisions for you.
- Preventing litigation — Without an advance directive in place, your loved ones could wind up in a costly – and ultimately divisive – court battle over the right to make health care decisions for you.
- Ensuring that your wishes are honored — If you have strong beliefs about receiving life sustaining medical care at the end of your life, the only way to ensure that those beliefs will be honored is to have an advance directive in place that legally requires them to be honored.
- Making things easier on loved ones — No matter how often you have discussed the matter, your close loved ones may genuinely not remember what your wishes are regarding end of life medical treatment given the stress they are under. Moreover, If you do not wish to receive life sustaining treatment or care, your loved ones may not be capable of following those wishes because they do not want to let you go. In that case, only an advance directive can override their wishes.
Contact a Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about executing an advance directive, contact an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.