Do you need a living will?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Wills |

Creating an estate plan in Arizona often involves more than just drafting a will. Although a will is a vital part of an estate plan, there are other documents that are also valuable pieces of an estate plan, such as a living will.

A living will details what medical decisions you would like made on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot verbalize the decisions yourself. Living wills are designed for situations such as end-of-life care, terminal illnesses or a persistent vegetative state.

Living wills are not intended to be used in situations that involve routine medical treatment or non-life-threatening conditions.

Can I have a will and living will at the same time?

You can have a will and a living will at the same time since both serve different purposes. A living will takes effect while you are still alive but cannot vocalize what medical decisions you would like made, while a will takes effect only upon your death.

If you wonder if you need a living will, ask yourself if your family members or loved ones would know what you would like done if you could not tell them. If not, a living will is something you might want to add to your estate plan.

How does a living will help me and my loved ones?

There are many benefits to a living will. It helps avoid family disputes or conflict if your loved ones argue over certain decisions, such as keeping you on life support, giving you a feeding tube or resuscitating you if necessary.

A living will eases the emotional and psychological burden on your family or loved ones who must make these types of decisions for you without knowing what you would have wanted. The experience of making these decisions for someone else is often traumatic for families.

If you do decide to have a living will drafted it is important that it meets all requirements to ensure it is valid.

Arizona law requires that the person making the living will is at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The living will must be in writing and clearly state that it is meant to serve as a living will. The living will must be dated, signed and notarized in the presence of a witness.

Can I revoke a living will?

You can revoke your living will but you must do so properly.

There are a few ways you can revoke a living will. You can commit a revocatory act which is an act that shows you intended to revoke the will. This can be tearing it up, burning it or otherwise physically destroying it somehow. The revocation must be done by you, not someone else.

You can also revoke a living will by making a new one. Your new living will should state that this living will revokes any previous living wills in existence.

If it does not, a new living will could still be considered valid if its terms are inconsistent with any prior living wills. It will be assumed that you intended the new living will to replace the old one.