As with any other estate-planning document, advance medical directive guidelines vary by state. Having an advance medical directive is an especially important component of elder law, where it is vital you have a clear, legally binding plan in place that provides for your medical wishes.
With an average life expectancy approaching 80 years, Arizonans are living longer than ever. Unfortunately, our later years often feature diminished physical and mental capacities. An advance medical directive outlines your wishes and preferences regarding medical and mental health treatments in the event you are no longer able to make those wishes known.
These documents ensure that your healthcare providers and family members know exactly what level of care you desire and expect. They also allow you to choose a person to make healthcare decisions in your interest. This is an important consideration, as today’s privacy laws place very strict guidelines on medical staff regarding discussion of your healthcare needs with family. Your healthcare power of attorney may request or refuse treatment in the same way you would were you still able to make and communicate your decisions.
Your directive allows you to express your wishes regarding various types of life-support equipment, intravenous hydration, pain management, do-not-resuscitate instructions, as well as many other options.
Of course, accidents and illness can strike at any time, so advance medical directives are smart estate-planning choices for everyone, regardless of age. Your physician and attorney can assist you with this process.