National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) was established to educate and empower the public and healthcare providers to take part in important advance care planning. With COVID-19 on everyone’s minds, this year #HealthcareDecisionsDay has even more relevance and importance for persons of all ages. Now is the time to plan ahead for your important healthcare decisions.

NHDD encourages all of us to think about the crucial questions tied to your estate planning that often get overlooked when most are thinking about leaving money to heirs. These questions include:

  • Deciding how you want end of life decisions handled
  • Authorizing someone to gain access to your private healthcare information
  • Selecting the right Agent to make decisions if you become incapacitated
  • Working with an estate planning or elder law attorney to make sure your documents are complete and valid in Arizona under current law
  • Identifying where you have questions and obtaining guidance to answer them
  • Talking to your decision makers about your choices so they are not blindsided

In the absence of advanced medical directives, medical personnel rely on family members to determine what a patient’s wishes might be. Further, state law (not you) will dictate who your medical decision maker(s) will be. Families often struggle to make these difficult decisions. However, these challenges can often be avoided with advanced planning. Completing advanced directives removes the burden from our loved ones and can help ensure your wishes will be honored.

What advance medical directives should everyone have in Arizona?

□   Health Care Power of Attorney. This document designates Agent(s) to handle your medical decisions in the event you were unable to do so yourself. In the absence of this document, state law designates persons with priority to act which may not be the persons you would prefer.

□  Mental Health Care Power of Attorney. This document allows your Agent(s) to consent to inpatient mental health treatment for you, if ever needed. This document avoids the need for emergency mental health guardianship (court proceeding).

□  Living Will. This document states your preferences regarding end-of-life medical treatment.  Without a Living Will, you may receive treatment you would not want and/or create family conflict in the absence of your known written wishes.

□  HIPPA Medical Release. Without this document your medical providers may not share information about your medical condition to anyone, even a spouse.

Where do you start?

Call us at 480-922-1010 or email info@bivenslaw.com to schedule a complimentary phone or videoconference consultation to learn more about these important medical directives, as well as all other critical legal documents required to establish and maintain a proper estate plan for your unique circumstances. We routinely prepare medical directives, as well as advise persons serving as Agents in handling medical decision making for others. We also regularly handle Guardianship proceedings when there is no health care power of attorney, or for other reason court involvement is required. We have the experience you need to make informed decisions to achieve best outcomes. We are here to help.

Once completed, what do you do with these documents?

Discuss your decisions with your loved ones. Let them know where your documents are in the event you have a healthcare event, too. Encourage other family members to complete advance directives. These documents provide peace of mind so that in the event difficult health care decisions must be made, the person(s) you choose will have authority to act and know your wishes.

Provide copies of your advance medical directives to your current medical providers, and register them with the Arizona Secretary of State medical directives registry: https://azsos.gov/services/advance-directives