Will Your Health Care Wishes Be Followed?
If you’re like many people, you have not put much thought into who will make your health care decisions if you are unable or what kinds of decisions might need to be made. However, you may find yourself thinking about health care issues more and more. If you or a loved one enters a hospital, one of the first questions you will be asked is if you have a Health Care Power of Attorney or a Living Will. A Living Will is also called an Advance Directive. These two documents will help ensure that the right people are making important decisions about your health care and will guide those persons to reach decisions consistent with your wishes.
The Health Care Power of Attorney names an “Agent” to act on your behalf and make your health care decisions if you are unable. It also gives your Agent the power to talk to medical care providers and make arrangements for any health care needs or services that may arise.
Your Living Will documents what kind of life-sustaining interventions you might want if you have a terminal condition or if you fall into an irreversible coma. Giving your loved ones guidance on your wishes under different circumstances is the best way to ensure that your wishes are followed and that family harmony is preserved.
Fortunately, completing these forms does not need to become another stressor- or expense - in this difficult and challenging time. The Arizona’s Secretary of State offers free forms for you to complete. Both the Health Care Power of Attorney and the Living Will are on their site.
Our estate planning team is available to answer questions or assist you with customized health care powers, living wills, or a more comprehensive estate plan.
About the Authors: Lisa Paine, Beth Cohn and Stephanie Fierro are estate planning attorneys at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. They assist clients with estate planning, probate, and trust administration.