Arizona Estate Planning attorneys are taking notice of new laws which define the rights of administrators over a deceased or incapacitated person's digital assets. For many people, digital assets, like email accounts, social media, and intangible assets like airline miles are an important and sometimes valuable part of their lives and until recently there was no clear mechanism for accessing those assets if the person was incapacitated or deceased. Many custodians of data had policies which conflicted with the user's wishes, or no policy at all.
As Arizona Probate Attorneys, one of the most common requests we get is for Living Wills. Also known as Healthcare Proxies or Advance Healthcare Directives, these documents are important parts of Arizona Estate Plans because they provide a means for people to express their wishes about end of life treatment. A Living Will prepared by an Arizona Estate Planning Attorney usually contains several questions about such subjects as life support, pain management, and treatment for terminal illnesses. When discussing these matters with clients, Arizona Estate Planning lawyers are sometimes asked about euthanasia-physician assisted suicide. For now that has been a very short discussion for the very simple reason that euthanasia is illegal in Arizona as it is in most states. Recently, however, California created an exception in its law and a similar proposal has been made by Arizona lawmakers.
Living Wills (also called "advance medical directives") are an increasingly important part of a well-devised estate plan, but they are often the part which people struggle with the most. Unlike a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will has to do with end of life decisions, not the disposition of property. Like most estate planning documents, it's critical to make your wishes known in advance and to update the document regularly because once you need the Living Will, it's usually too late for you to create or alter it.