What to Consider Before Writing a Living Will in AZ
Are you familiar with what goes into writing a living will in the state of Arizona? Read about what to include like medical care, estate planning, and more.
According to a recent study, more than half of all Americans do not have a living will or living wills. If you're one of these people, you're probably asking yourself what a living will entail.
Living wills are different from estate planning. A living will outline how you'd like to be treated in a hospital if you are unable to express your wishes yourself. They are often referenced when a person goes into a coma, and they're unlikely to wake up. Life sustaining treatment is no longer an option. If there is no hope of life Arizona living wills may come into effect.
A living will is one of those things that you don't need until you do. It's always better to write a living will and never need it than fail to write one and leave your family wondering what to do.
A living will can help doctors figure out if you want to be kept on life support, how much pain medicine you need, if you need comfort care, and more. It will give you doctors and your family proper direction.
In the article below, you'll find a list of some of the most important things to think about when writing a living will. Continue reading to learn more about this important legal document. An estate planning attorney is always a good point to start. A lawyer in Arizona will have the best legal resources to help you.
Figure Out How Many Surrogates You will Have
When you create a living will, you'll name a surrogate or surrogates. These are people who are legally authorized to make decisions on your behalf. Depending of your medical condition the person making the decision matters a lot. If you are no longer of sound mind they will be able to tell the doctors what to do.
You can have as many surrogates as you want, but most just use their immediate family as surrogates. When it comes time for a surrogate to decide on your behalf, they'll have to sign a document.
If you have multiple surrogates, they may all need to sign off on your medical decision. When you're writing your living will, you can determine how many surrogate signatures you'll require. If you only require one of your surrogates to sign off on a procedure, you can say so.
This may be a good idea, as medical situations are fast-moving. It may not be feasible to have multiple surrogates available for a signature. A valid living will can save your life.
Decide if You're Open to Experimental Procedures
If you're in a dicey medical situation, a doctor might recommend an experimental procedure, like electric shocks. These types of methods usually carry big risks. You'll have to decide ahead of time if you're willing to take on these risks in Arizona.
If you are, write it down in your living will ahead of time. That way, your surrogates can tell the doctors to proceed even if there is a risk of death or permanent damage.
Tell Your Surrogates All Your Wishes Ahead of Time
While a living will is an effective legal document, its also open to misinterpretation. A living will form is not just a form in Arizona. That's why it's smart to tell your surrogates how you feel ahead of time.
Make sure they understand what you're putting in the living will. If the time ever comes when they have to execute your wishes, they'll know what you want. Attorneys should be able to guide you properly.
Think about How You'd Like to Handle Pain Medicine
Some doctors are hesitant to provide too much pain medicine. If you're unable to express your wishes, you might have to experience more pain than you'd like. Using too much pain medicine can have negative health effects, but you may not care if you have a terminal diagnosis.
This is one thing to be clear about in your living will. Make sure your surrogates know to give you pain medicine even if it might have some negative side effects. When life sustaining treatments are no longer available comfort care may be your best option. An advance directive may also be important.
Make sure the living will is notarized in Arizona
For a living will to be valid in Arizona it needs to be notarized in front of a notary public. The attorney that you work with should be able to help, usually the lawyer or someone in the law firm will be an Arizona notary public.
Different from other estate planning documents a living will doesn't require two witnesses to be valid. Not even one witness in required by Arizona law.
Make a Decision on Organ Donation
When you're writing your living will and thinking about estate planning, you'll have to think about your organs. Decide if you're open to having your organs used to help other patients or for research purposes in Arizona.
It's important to remember that being an organ donor does not affect your funeral arrangements. You'll still be able to have an open casket or be cremated.
Decide How Long You Want to Stay on Life Support
This next point is likely the most important part of your living will. If you end up needing the help of machines to stay alive, your surrogate will have to tell the doctor when to pull you off life support.
You might decide to stay on life support for a long time until every experimental treatment has been tried.
You might also decide that you don't want to spend a lot of time on life support, racking up expensive nights at the hospital. Whatever you decide, be sure to write it down clearly in your living will. An advance directive is only one part of your living will and your estate planning attorney should be able to explain how it works when he or she draft your document.
Free Your Surrogates from Any Financial Responsibility
When you receive medical treatment at the end of your life, it can get expensive. You'll have to pay for procedures, but in some cases, you might not have enough money to pay.
When that happens, some hospitals or insurance companies may come after your surrogates. You can protect them against this by taking financial responsibility for your living will. A lawyer will make sure it is done properly.
Clearly state that you and you alone are responsible for paying for any hospital fees. You can get help with the language for this part of the living will by consulting with a Chandler estate planning attorney. It's important to get an attorney to help with legal language like this because they can ensure it will hold up in court. The last thing you want is for your surrogates to have to deal with financial issues after they've helped you carry out your final wishes in your living will.
Top Considerations for Writing a Living Will
As you can see from the information in the article above, a living will involve different decisions than you make when working with a Chandler estate planning attorney.
Still, an experienced estate planner should be able to help you with a living will as well. When you're ready to write your living will get in touch with the best estate planner in Chandler, Citadel Law Firm.
Schedule your free estate planning consultation with us today, click here or on the button below. If you prefer call (480)665-8020. Our Estate planning attorneys will be pleased to help you with your living Will today.
If you want to learn more about living wills in Arizona check our blog 5 Important Things to Know About Creating a Living Will in Arizona.
If you want see the cost to create a Last Will and Testatment, click here.