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A Resource Guide for Patients & Visitors

Advance Directives


What happens if I am unable to communicate my healthcare decisions?

  • If you have not named someone in a healthcare directive to make decisions for you, your doctors must seek a surrogate to make these decisions.
  • According to Arizona law, the order of people authorized to make healthcare decisions for you is:
    • Husband or wife, unless you are legally separated
    • Adult child. If you have more than one child – a majority of those who are available
    • Mother or father
    • Domestic partner
    • Brother or sister
    • Close friend

Advanced Directives

  • Are a way a way to communicate what medical care you do or do not want.
  • Types of directives include:
    • Living Will
    • Healthcare (Medical) Power of Attorney
      • Pre-hospital Medical Care Directive

Living Will

  • Is a written statement about what treatment you want
  • Must be signed by you and dated
  • Must be notarized or witnessed.  The witness to your signature cannot be related to you my marriage or adoption, or benefit from your estate.  In Arizona, the form does not have to be notarized.

Health Care ( Medical) Power of Attorney

  • Allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions if you can’t make them yourself.
  • You can name an alternate Health Care Power of Attorney in case the first person is not available.
  • Must be signed by you and dated
  • Must be notarized or witnessed.  The witness to your signature cannot be related to you my marriage or adoption, or benefit from your estate.  In Arizona, the form does not have to be notarized.

Pre-Hospital Directive ( also known as an orange form)

  • Completed if you do not want CPR or other forms of resuscitation and do not want to be taken to the hospital.
  • Must be signed by you and dated
  • Must also be signed by a licensed healthcare provider and a witness
  • Must be printed on orange paper

Where can I get advance directives?

  • Advance directive forms are available here (English version) (Spanish version). 
  • You can use any form as long as your signature is properly witnessed.

What if I already have a living will or other healthcare directive?

  • A healthcare directive that was valid when made anywhere in the U.S. is valid under Arizona law. 
  • You should review your healthcare directives periodically and update them as needed.

When do Advanced Directives become effective and what happens if I change my mind?

  • Advance Directives are effective as soon as they are signed and witnessed.
  • They take effect only if you are not able to communicate your wishes or lack the capacity to make health care decisions.
  • They do not have an expiration date.
  • It is helpful to review or update your advance directives on a regular basis

When do I do with my Advance Directives?

  • It is important to give a copy to anyone you have named as a healthcare power of attorney and also to any of your healthcare facilities. 
  • Provide a copy to all your health care providers
  • You may also wish to register your Advance Directives with the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry provided by the Secretary of State’s Office. Online registration makes the documents accessible at all times to anyone who has your password to view them.