What are Living Wills?

When people hear the phrase ‘living will’, they assume that it is a different kind of normal will that divides property after death but this simply isn't the case. If you haven't yet looked into living wills, now could be the time because it could just be one of the most important documents you sign. 

As mentioned, livings wills don’t look post-death but instead the health care or treatment you receive when ill or not able to make decisions. By drawing up a living will, it lets everyone know your wishes in terms of treatment for end-of-life medical care. Otherwise known as an advanced directive or a directive to physicians, it allows you to communicate your decisions when you aren't physically able to do so. In terms of its use, this document is truly invaluable as it gives guidance to friends, family members, and medical professionals. Rather than having to guess which route you would choose to go down, they will have the guidance needed to make an informed decision. As a living will describes the actions taken for end-of-life care, it has no power after death. 

Creating a Living Will - When drawing up this important document, there are two main options - bringing in an attorney or making your own. However, each state is different as to where to go from here. In Arizona, you will have to sign the document in front of one witness or otherwise it must be notarised. If you choose to go for a witness, they must not be a relative, provide you with health care, or be a part of your division of estate in a regular will. If you choose to have the will notarised instead, the notary cannot be someone providing your health care nor can it be your health care agent. 

As soon as you follow this step, the document becomes valid and you will need to keep the originals. If you named a heath care agent, they will need copies of the document. To ensure that the living will is utilised in the appropriate circumstances, you may also want to give copies to your physician, insurance plan, trusted friends and family members, and even your hospital. 

Every so often, you will want to review your documents to see if they still apply and to see if you still agree with the wishes previously stated. If you move state, you will need to ensure that everything is still in place for your wishes to be put into place. Regardless of where you are, the document will be legal until you decide to withdraw them and remove all copies from the relevant bodies. Of course, the easiest way to draw up a living will would be to contact a professional in Arizona as this will ensure that all the requirements have been met and all the appropriate people receive a copy.