While none of us wants to think about it, major accidents and medical emergencies happen every day in Arizona. How you want to be treated medically is up to your doctors and family unless you have a living will.

What should you include in a living will?

In our blog post Estate Planning Basics, we discuss living wills as part of an overall plan for you and your assets in the event of illness or death. Having a living is beneficial to you and to your loved ones as it clearly establishes your wishes in the event of an accident including life support or other medical treatment.

1. Consult with your physician to understand the latest in medical technology that could be used to keep you alive. If you are seeking a good quality of life, your living will needs to be clear so you aren’t saved through medical technology in a state that you don’t want to be in such as coma or vegetative.

2. Write down your wishes so they aren’t contested in the event you are unable to communicate with your doctors. All too often families fight over how to treat an ailing relative when a living will would have spelled out the patient’s wishes clearly.

3. Decide whether or not you want to name someone as a durable power of attorney as this is not covered in a standard living will. They would be able to make medical decisions for you if you were unable to do so.

Medical considerations include:

• Do you want doctors to attempt to restart your heart if it stops either through chest compressions or electric shock?

• Do you want doctors to take measures to help you breathe with breathing tubes in your throat or ventilator?

• Do you want to be hydrated and fed through a feeding tube if you are in a vegetative state?

• Do you want kidney dialysis should your kidneys cease functioning?

• What type of pain management do you want?

It is important at any age to think about how you want to be treated medically and to write it down in a living will. For questions regarding living wills, estate planning, and other family law issues in Arizona, contact us.