A guide to advance health care directives for Arizona families

There are a lot of unknowns for Arizona families when it comes to estate planning. There will be many questions on whether your children are doing the right thing, especially when it comes to making major health or financial decisions.

A huge part of setting up an estate plan is creating advance health care directives ahead of time. These directives will outline precisely what your family should do when making decisions on your behalf.

Different types of advance directives

Advance directives can come in many forms, but one of the most common is a living will. This document will outline what treatments and care you want to receive if you cannot communicate those wishes yourself.

It’s not uncommon for you to become incapacitated at the end of your life, either from a long-term illness or other health reasons. Should this happen, your family and medical team must follow whatever you have outlined in your living will.

You can also assign a healthcare surrogate to handle these decisions. This person will handle all decisions related to your healthcare, so it’s important to talk out what your wishes are.

When to create advance directives

Creating an advance directive as soon as possible is generally a good idea. If you know under what conditions you’d want to receive or refuse care if you become incapacitated, an advance health care directive will ensure your wishes are followed.

Typically, people might make an advance health care directive after being diagnosed with an illness or other health condition. It’s not uncommon for you to become incapacitated at the end of these illnesses, so it’s important to outline how your family should proceed with your care.

A healthcare surrogate can help fill in any gaps. Generally, your oldest child or a close family relative will be your healthcare surrogate.

For them to do this successfully, you need to communicate your wishes with them beforehand. These conversations can be difficult, but they will give your family peace of mind to know your wishes so they can make the best decisions on your behalf.