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Arizona Advance Directive Registry is Moving

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Arizona advance directive registry

If you signed your health care directives with Fleming & Curti, PLC, in the past decade or so, you probably already know about the Arizona advance directive registry. It gives you an easy — and free — way to store your health care power of attorney, living will or pre-hospital medical care directive online.

For almost exactly eleven years, the Arizona Secretary of State’s office has managed the directory. It’s easy: you mail a copy (not the original) of your advance directives to the office. They scan the document(s) and send them back. They also send you a card telling you how to download your directives.

Now you have a wallet-sized card to keep with your insurance and other medical-related cards. Headed to the hospital? Just show them the card; they can download your health care power of attorney and your living will.

So why are they changing it?

Fleming & Curti, PLC, clients (and everyone else who uses the Arizona advance directive registry) started receiving notices this month about upcoming changes. Do you need to do something about it? No. But the change might confuse (and even alarm) some of our clients. There’s no need to worry.

The initial law ordering creation of an online registry for advance directives was actually passed in 2004. In classic Arizona style, the legislature ordered the creation of a registry, but prohibited anyone from using state money to set it up or maintain it.

Hospice of the Valley, a Phoenix-based hospice organization, stepped up. They estimated that the annual cost of maintaining the directory would probably be about $60,000, and they committed to find the funds. And they did.

The registry didn’t actually get underway until 2010. Shortly after that, we at Fleming & Curti, PLC, realized it would help clients maintain their advance directives — and make them available to health care providers. We began encouraging clients to sign up when they signed new health care powers of attorney, mental health care powers, living wills or pre-hospital medical care directives. We even signed up for our own directive storage.

The new registry — two years in the making

In 2019, the Arizona legislature passed a new law. It ordered the Department of Health Services to find a different registry arrangement. The registry had originally been housed at the Secretary of State’s office. That was partly because of concerns that the Health Department might use advance directives to limit medical care resources to patients. That might seem like a quaint and old-fashioned concern today (in fact, you might have thought it odd twenty years ago). But setting up an outside entity seemed like a way to get around any concern.

It has taken two years for the Department of Health Services to come up with a different arrangement. They have now begun to roll out their agreement with Health Current. That organization is part of Contexture, which (in turn) is a combination of similar organizations from Arizona and Colorado. Health Current was a $15 million (revenue) Arizona non-profit in 2020, so presumably has sufficient resources to keep the Arizona advance directive registry going.

In the meantime, documents filed with the Secretary of State remain available. The link is actually hard to find; the back of your card takes you almost there. The correct site to download your existing advance directives is still on the Secretary of State’s website. The link on the back of your registry card will take you to a site with that link, but not prominently displayed.

Are there alternatives?

There are. A number of private organizations make similar registry services available online. One, the U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry, has different charges depending on your health care provider and possibly other considerations. Probably the best-known and most widely-used, DocuBank, charges $55/year or $175 for a five-year registration. DocuBank can also keep other documents — like your financial power of attorney, your trust, and a copy of your will — online. We know of no free alternative like the Arizona advance directive registry, however.

We anticipate continuing to recommend the (free) Arizona advance directive registry system for our clients’ documents. But we’re keeping an eye on the changes.


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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.