Understanding Life Care Planning: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities

life care planning

Life Care Planning is a crucial aspect of ensuring that your medical wishes are honored in the event of an emergency or serious illness. It empowers individuals of all ages to make informed decisions about their healthcare and designate trusted individuals to manage their medical affairs when they are unable to do so themselves. Whether you reside in Arizona or elsewhere, there are valuable resources available to assist you in creating a comprehensive Life Care Plan. 

What is Life Care Planning? 

Life Care Planning involves creating legal documents that outline your preferences for medical care and designate individuals you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. These documents may include: 

  1. Health Care Power of Attorney: This document allows you to appoint a trusted individual to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. 
  2. Mental Health Care Power of Attorney: Like the Health Care Power of Attorney, this document specifically addresses your instructions regarding your mental health care. 
  3. Living Will (End-of-Life Care): A Living Will outlines your choices for end-of-life medical care, such as whether you want life-sustaining treatments to be administered and for how long 
  4. Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (Do Not Resuscitate): This directive specifies your wishes regarding resuscitation efforts in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. 
  5. POLST Form: The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is for individuals who are seriously ill or frail, outlining specific medical interventions based on your current health status and goals of care. 

Your Legal Rights under State Law 

In every state, individuals have the right to create Life Care Plans in accordance with their preferences. These legal documents are crucial for ensuring that your healthcare wishes are respected, even if you are unable to communicate them yourself. By law, healthcare providers must adhere to the directives outlined in your Life Care Plan.  

Accessing Life Care Planning Resources 

While specific resources may vary by state, several national organizations offer valuable information and support for Life Care Planning: 

  • National Institute on Aging (NIA): NIA provides resources and guides on advance care planning and end-of-life decision-making. Visit NIA’s Website 
  • American Bar Association (ABA): ABA offers information on legal issues related to advance directives and healthcare decision-making. Explore ABA’s Resources 
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO): NHPCO offers resources and support for individuals and families facing serious illness or end-of-life care. Access NHPCO’s Support 

The Arizona Attorney General’s office provides a variety of free resources to facilitate this process, including informational materials, checklists, and free access to necessary legal forms in both English and Spanish. Check with your local state agencies for similar guidance. 

To access the Life Care Planning resources provided by the Arizona Attorney General’s office, visit the following link: Arizona Attorney General – Life Care Planning. 

On this page, you’ll find: 

  • Complete LCP Packets: These packets include essential forms such as Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Pre-Hospital Medical Directive. Be sure to follow the instructions regarding printing to ensure validity. 
  • Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry – Registration Agreement: Information on registering your documents with the state’s Healthcare Directives Registry. 
  • Life Care Planning Information: Additional resources and information about Life Care Planning in Arizona. 
  • Life Care Planning Checklist: A helpful checklist to guide you through the Life Care Planning process. 


Life Care Planning is a proactive step towards ensuring that your healthcare decisions are respected and that you have trusted individuals advocating for you. By utilizing the resources provided by national organizations, individuals can create comprehensive Life Care Plans that align with their values. 

Remember, Life Care Planning is a process that requires thoughtful consideration and discussion with loved ones and healthcare providers. With a little effort, you can take the necessary steps to create your Life Care Plan and ensure that your healthcare wishes are respected. 

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all information is for general informational purposes only. This information may not constitute the most up-to-date information. The links provided are only for the convenience of the reader, A. Ferraris Law, PLLC and its members do not endorse the contents of the third-party references. 

Copyright©2024, A. Ferraris Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved. 

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