Posted on: September 28th, 2023 by EOS Healthcare Marketing
In the realm of healthcare decision-making, a living will plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your medical preferences are honored when you cannot express them yourself. This comprehensive guide from My Living Wishes will walk you through the Arkansas living will requirements, shedding light on the legal intricacies and steps necessary to create one.
What is a Living Will?
A living will, often called an “advance healthcare directive,” is a legal document that outlines your medical treatment preferences in case you cannot communicate your wishes.
Key Differences Between Living Wills and Advance Directives
While these terms are often used interchangeably, Arkansas recognizes a distinction. A living will typically covers end-of-life decisions, while an advance directive is broader, encompassing healthcare proxy appointments.
Legal Basis in Arkansas:
Arkansas law (Arkansas Code Annotated § 20-17-203) recognizes the validity of living wills, provided they meet specific requirements.
Living Will Requirements in Arkansas
Legal Age and Capacity:
In Arkansas, you must be of legal age and have the mental capacity to create a living will. Minors typically cannot create one except under certain circumstances.
Witness and Notarization Requirements:
Your living will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are unrelated to you and not beneficiaries of your estate. Notarization is optional but adds an extra layer of authenticity.
Specificity in Treatment Preferences:
It’s crucial to be specific about your medical treatment preferences, especially regarding life-sustaining treatments like ventilators, feeding tubes, or CPR.
Appointing a Healthcare Proxy:
Arkansas law allows you to appoint a healthcare proxy, known as a “durable power of attorney for healthcare,” to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. This is a separate document but can complement your living will.
Steps of Drafting Your Living Will in Arkansas
Gather Information: Collect your medical preferences and treatment decisions. Think about what medical treatments you would want or not want in specific situations.
Choose a Format: Find a living will template online or consult with an attorney to create a document that reflects your wishes. You can also use official Arkansas living will forms if available.
Specify Your Preferences: Clearly state your medical treatment preferences in the document. Be specific about when you would or would not want certain treatments.
Sign and Witness: Sign your living will in front of two witnesses who are not related to you and who won’t benefit from your estate. While not required, you can also have it notarized for added authenticity.
Store and Share: Keep copies of your living will in a safe, easily accessible place. Share copies with your healthcare proxy (if appointed), healthcare providers, and loved ones. Review and update it periodically to ensure it reflects your current wishes.
Choose My Living Wishes for Your Living Will
Creating a living will in Arkansas is a vital step in ensuring that your medical wishes are respected when you cannot communicate them yourself. By following the straightforward steps outlined above from My Living Wishes, you can establish a legally valid document that provides clarity and guidance to your loved ones and healthcare providers during critical times. Contact us today to begin writing your living will.