Some people are fortunate enough to pass away peacefully in their sleep, but many need health care at a hospital or hospice care as they reach the end of their lives. If you reach a point where you cannot communicate your wishes regarding end-of-life care, it may be up to your loved ones to guess as to what you would have wanted. There are ways you can make your wishes known before you reach that state and that is by executing a living will and a health care power of attorney.
What is a living will?
A living will is a document in which you outline what kind of end-of-life medical care you would want to receive if you developed a terminal illness or injury or if you are in a coma or vegetative state. It is your voice when you do not have one. It works as a roadmap for the person you select as health care power of attorney to follow.
What is a health care power of attorney?
A health care power of attorney is a document in which you select someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and cannot do so on your own. This person is referred to as an “agent” or “representative.” The power of attorney will follow your living will when making decisions, for example, deciding whether to continue tube feeding. It is important to discuss your decision with your chosen agent prior to executing the health care power of attorney, to ensure they are willing and able to take on that role.
Estate planning is important
It is important to have a living will and health care power of attorney as part of your estate plan. Without one, Arizona law will dictate who will fulfill the role of “agent” or “representative,” which may or may not be to your liking. It can also cause distress for your loved ones, especially if they do not agree on how to handle your end-of-life care. It is better to be prepared with an enforceable living will and health care power of attorney for your sake and the sake of your loved ones.