Arizona Power of Attorney

Legal documents and end of life planning can feel overwhelming, but your future care depends on the steps you take now.  While no one likes to think of becoming ill or incapacitated, the reality is that these things happen.  Are you prepared if it happens to you?  If you have not already prepared a healthcare power of attorney, sometimes called a medical power of attorney, there’s no time like the present.

Appoint a Representative

Step one is identifying who you would like to act as your Arizona healthcare power of attorney.

When you are considering who you want to choose to act on your behalf regarding future healthcare decisions, you need to be very thoughtful and strategic.  Your chosen representative should be a person that you trust implicitly.  In addition, that individual should be responsible and willing to take on the responsibility.  You may also want to consider your nominee’s age and health.  Will he or she be around and available to make important decisions on your behalf as you age?  Will this person be able to put his or her own beliefs aside and carry out your wishes regarding your future medical care?  You need to carefully choose your healthcare representative and if possible, you should select a backup representative.  If your first selection is unavailable or unable to fulfill the responsibilities, the second selection would step into the role.

Plan for the Future

Identifying your future healthcare decisions, needs and wants is as important as finding a representative to make those decisions for you.  You should imagine the worst case scenario.  If you were to become incapacitated or comatose, what medical care would you want?  The more specific you are regarding your wishes, the easier you will make things for your chosen representative.

Life support and comfort care are important issues to consider.  If you were involved in a life threatening accident would you like to be put on life support?  Would you opt for comfort care?  Comfort care is the treating of a dying person to help alleviate pain and make him or her as comfortable as possible without prolonging life artificially.  Another consideration is your religious beliefs.  Do you have any religious convictions that would restrict future medical treatment of any kind?  Organ donation and autopsies are often tough topics that should be addressed.  Your healthcare power of attorney will not only make life and death decisions on your behalf but will also decide day to day items such as selecting a care facility or provider on your behalf.  All these items need to be decided and documented.

You should consider your wishes, as well as any legal restrictions.  While your wishes are paramount, you should also be familiar with the restrictions of your state of residence.  For instance, the state of Arizona does not recognize or allow assisted suicide.  If you were to put in your planning documents that you wished for a loved one to assist you in taking your own life, this request would not be allowable by law.

These issues and decisions are serious and may impact your loved ones as well as yourself.  Please consult with your physician, family, clergy and / or attorney.  Make certain that you have all of your questions answered and that your wishes are in a legally executed document.

Complete the Paperwork

Once you have made the difficult decisions above, it is important that you execute the documentation needed for your wishes to be legally enforceable.  The Arizona Attorney General has life care planning documents available including: Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney, Durable Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will (End of Life Care), Letter to My Agent, and Pre-Hospital Medical Directive.

You should store your documents in a very easily accessible place as well as consider storing the documents on your computer or in the cloud.  You should also make sure your designated representative has a copy as well.  You should communicate your wishes to your appointed representative and your loved ones to help prevent any conflict in the future.

Once your paperwork is completed, your work is still not done.  People change and evolve over time; so do relationships.  It is important to review your life planning documents annually and revise them as needed.  If you are no longer close to your appointed representative, consider appointing someone else.  If your end of life choices have changed, update your documents to reflect those changes.

Revocation, Including Abuse of Power of Attorney

Can a power of attorney be revoked? Absolutely.  If your healthcare power of attorney is no longer appropriate, that person can be removed.  If you would like to revoke the power of attorney, you need to be mentally competent and execute the necessary documents.

Power of Attorney in Arizona

Life planning is important.  If you haven’t tackled this tough but necessary topic, please give me a call and allow me to guide you through the necessary steps.  Make sure your future healthcare decisions are in the hands of the person who will best care for you.