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Living Will

A living will is used to express your wishes regarding end of life decisions. If you are in an accident or are terminally ill and unable to make your own decisions, such as a persistent vegetative state or coma, this document will indicate your wishes regarding your care. A living will can be used to keep you alive using machines or allow your family or guardian to terminate life sustaining care. Without a document stating your wishes your family or guardian would make the tough decisions for you. Often family members do not agree with how to handle this tough situation and in that case it is taken to court for them to decide.

How do I get a Living Will?

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has a free life care planning packet available on their website at https://www.azag.gov/seniors/life-care-planning

Can I be barred from handling my own affairs for any reason?

Yes – if you no longer have capacity to handle your own affairs. If you become disabled, the court may appoint a guardian to handle decisions regarding your person and a conservator to handle financial matters. If you realize you are having trouble acting for yourself, you may want to appoint someone to act now for you so that you have the appropriate help in place. You can also hire someone to help you pay bills and take care of your nutrition, hydration, medicine and transportation needs.

What is a conservator?

A conservator is appointed by the court to handle your financial matters. The conservator must account to the court each year. The conservator must be bonded unless all assets are court-restricted. Usually, some assets are restricted and some are not so that the bills can be paid. As mentioned above, a guardian can be appointed to make decisions regarding your person. The guardian decides all health matters and makes sure you have proper nutrition, hydration, living quarters, clothes, etc. When a petition is filed, an attorney is appointed for you unless you already have one. If you object to the appointment, a trial is held on the matter.

Do I need a will?

If you want the following issues handled, then do prepare a will:

  1. You want to disinherit an heir.
  2. You want to provide for friends/charities/ spouse/children/family members.
  3. You want to revoke prior wills.
  4. You want an unequal distribution among your beneficiaries.
  5. You are leaving money to minor or disabled beneficiaries.
  6. You wish to nominate a guardian for minor or disabled individuals.
  7. You want to name a Personal Representative(s) to manage notifying heirs and creditors, paying taxes, creditors and administrative expenses, and distribution to beneficiaries.
  8. You have a spouse and children from a prior marriage and want to be clear who gets what of your assets.
  9. Your wishes regarding final arrangements.
  10. You want to provide for your pet.

How do I create a will?

In Arizona, a holographic will is valid; you must write out the will in your own handwriting and sign it. A date is also helpful, as is a note about whether you are revoking prior wills. The will can be typed, signed by you and witnessed by two people and then signed by a notary public. The notary public cannot be a witness. The two witnesses and notary public should not be related to you or a beneficiary/ Personal Representative in the will. DO NOT write on your will after it has been signed. If you want to make changes, prepare a codicil or a new will. If someone’s address has changed, do not write on the document; simply note it on a separate page called “contact information.”

 

 

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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