A couple of the documents I prepare as part of my services are the Health Care Power of Attorney and the Living Will. These documents are important to outline who will make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to, as well as your end-of-life instructions. However, my clients always ask the important question, “How will my loved ones be able to access these in an emergency?”
This is a great question, and the Arizona Secretary of State has helped resolve this common concern with their Arizona Advance Directive Registry. This is a FREE service that allows you to store your advance directive (health care power of attorney and living will) in a “virtual filing cabinet”.
To get started, all you need to do is send your advance directives to the Arizona Secretary of State, along with a completed registration form. In return, you will receive a registry card, which has an identification number and password that you can provide to your family, friends, doctor, etc. Anyone in any state or country can access your documents as long as they have Internet access, your identification number, and your password.
I recommend that you keep your registry card in your wallet, so in case of an emergency, it is on your person and can be accessed by first responders or hospital personnel. If you ever update your advance directives, follow the same process by submitting your new documents along with a registration form. This is important to remember; you wouldn’t want old documents to be accessed!
I always walk my clients through this process as I think it’s a great service that everyone should know about. If you want more information, check out the Arizona Secretary of State’s website: https://www.azsos.gov/services/advance-directives.