Why Do People Choose an Arizona Durable Power of Attorney?
Most vital healthcare decisions are made toward the end of life, when the ability to make competent decisions starts to dwindle. Rather than leaving important health choices in their own hands, elderly persons tend to consign medical decisions to those more qualified – like their primary care physician.
In order to empower doctors to handle end of life medical care choices, a durable power of attorney is drawn up. We’ll discuss the technicalities, pitfalls and benefits of these wills as they apply to Arizona law.
Legalities of Durable Power of Attorneys
Arizona Code Section 36-3221, which discusses the provisions of the Health Care Power of Attorney, gives specific powers to healthcare professionals to effectuate the life prolonging acts and wishes of persons nearing death. This durable power of attorney gives or refuses consent to hospitals, medical facilities, surgical centers and their ilk to make health care choices on that person’s behalf.
In order for any written designation to be valid, it must:
- Be written by an adult;
- Have clear, concise language laypersons can understand;
- Must specifically direct healthcare professionals to take actions, and no one else;
- Get signed, dated and witnessed by at least one (1) competent adult or notary not related by blood, adoption or marriage, or by a person with entitlement to the person’s estate.
Provided they do not conflict with Arizona laws, durable power of attorneys prepared in other states are legally enforceable in this state.
Why Having Written Directives is Necessary
Watching parents and loved ones near their end is depressing enough. Having to plan what happens in the event grave illnesses strike or medical procedures are needed add another element of stress. With durable power of attorneys in place, decisions are bestowed upon the facilities who would care for loved ones’ sicknesses anyway.
If elderly persons have no loved ones, and lose consciousness for an extended period of time or lose the ability to make rational decisions, these written decrees can act on their behalf. It’s not uncommon for Arizonans to prepare these during their working years in preparation for their retirement.
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Revocation and Termination
Provided the individual is living, is of sound mind and wants to switch providers in their power of attorney, revocation is possible. It takes nothing more than discussing your wishes with the estate planning attorney who prepared the document.
In other situations, termination of durable power of attorneys is necessary. Requesting termination arises when an individual lacks decision-making acumen, and a loved one believes the facility or provider wouldn’t provide the level of care needed. Contesting this requires judge intervention, who can ultimate terminate the decree or simply remove one party in lieu of another.
Special circumstances may occur when these legal documents expire based on a preset date. For example, perhaps the durable power of attorney will expire when the listed party turns 80 regardless if living or deceased. This is common when persons need treatment, are expected to live through it but are unable to make decisions for whatever reason.
Apart from contesting the power of attorney, the only way these legal documents cease functionality is upon death. Once the durable document dies, terms and condition of the estate take precedence. When the will is probated, the executor will assume priority over all listed parties on the durable power of attorney.
For Further Consideration
Laws in Arizona which affect durable power of attorneys change frequently. Contact an Arizona estate planning attorney who specializes in forming an agreement that executes decisions you or your loved one would normally make when of sound mind.
As always, perform your own legal research to verify both an attorney you wish to retain, and the type of document you wish to execute applies to your situation.