Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney in Arizona is a legal document that provides another individual of your choosing with the legal right to make medically related decisions on your behalf. For example, if you are in a coma or otherwise unable to communicate, your chosen individual will be able to clearly communicate your wishes to medical professionals.
This includes giving your chosen individual the decision on whether or not to resuscitate should you cease to breathe on your own. You can put a DNR in place — a “Do Not Resuscitate” order — which is another, separate legal document that allows you to decide before anything happens whether or not you wish to be kept on life support.
No one wants to think that something bad will happen. However, probably every adult should have a medical power of attorney in place.
You might need it tomorrow, ten years from now or never, you just don’t know. However, if the issue is important to you and you want your loved ones to have a clear understanding of your wishes, a medical power of attorney is important.
Choose your designated person wisely. Discuss your feelings about your health care with that person carefully, so they understand clearly what your feelings are.
Durable Power of Attorney
Durable power of attorney, unlike ordinary power of attorney which is in effect only while you are of sound mind, will still be in effect even if you become incompetent. There are situations where a durable power of attorney is very important.
For example, due to an injury or an illness like a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, you may lose the capacity to make decisions. If you don’t have durable power of attorney in place, then you may be subject to the appointment of a guardian by the courts. In this case, you’ve lost the right to choose who will make decisions for you.
You can choose different individuals to act your behalf in different areas. For example, someone with good business sense can act to make decisions for you in this arena. While a spouse or child may better understand your desires for medical treat and health care.
The person you select for either position must be capable of assuming high legal standards, of honesty and trust on behalf of the principal. This relationship is called “fiduciary” and it is a position of total dependence and trust, choose wisely.
A living will is a a written statement expressing your desires regarding your medical treatment under circumstances in which you are no longer able to provide informed consent. Specifically, this document allows your heirs to know if you wish heroic measures to be taken to support your life or which measures you will accept or won’t accept. This document doesn’t go into effect unless you are incapacitated.