Area Agency on Aging to host ‘Night of the Living Will’

The Area Agency on Aging and the Elder Law, Mental Health and Special Needs Planning Section of the State Bar of Arizona are partnering to provide individuals with pro bono consultation to develop their living will and healthcare power of attorney at the aptly named “Night of the Living Will,” Saturday morning, Oct. 27.

The event will be held in central Phoenix, however, reservations for specific appointments with an attorney are required, at which time the exact location of the event will be provided.  To schedule an appointment, call the 24-Hour SeniorHELP LINE at 602-264-4357.

“Night of the Living Will” is open to anyone 18 years or older.

“It’s never too early to have a plan in place so that personal choices are determined about who will manage your medical affairs if you are unable,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic.  “We are grateful to the attorneys who will volunteer their time to make this opportunity available to the community.”

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document appointing an “agent” and an “alternate agent” to make medical decisions for someone unable to do so.  A living will is a legal document providing instructions to the agent under a healthcare power of attorney about how an individual wants to be treated in end-of-life situations.

“These documents are incredibly important and this event provides a valuable opportunity to document your wishes and solidify some of your affairs. Prior to the event, thought should be given to the amount of medical treatment desired, if any, should you be in a persistent vegetative state,” says Caleb Lihn, elder law attorney and partner at Thies & Lihn, PLLC.

“Questions to consider include whether one wants to receive artificial foods and/or fluid, the use of CPR, and/or the use of artificial breathing should one be in an irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state.”

Individuals participating in the event should bring a photo ID and full name and contact information for the persons to be designated as agent and alternate agent. Participants also should be prepared to discuss funeral arrangements (burial or cremation), organ donation and any pre-paid burial plans already in place.

Attorneys will only be able to discuss healthcare powers of attorney and living wills during the hour-long sessions and cannot provide counsel on other legal issues.

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