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Healthcare Power of Attorney Powers

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Healthcare powers of attorney can vary significantly depending on the individual. There are many categories of authorities that can be granted, denied or left out of the document. Here are a few examples and reasons why you might want to consider them.

Living Will

The living will is not exactly a “power” granted to your agent. It is a declaration of your wishes that your agent can advocate for. The living will is often, but not always, a separate document from the healthcare power of attorney. Having living will provisions in your healthcare power of attorney helps reduce the number of documents you need to keep track of in an emergency. The living will details specific preferences for care you would like to receive if you were unable to communicate your preferences. Typically, it focuses on preferences if you are near the end of your life, have a terminal condition or are in a coma or vegetative state. You can decide if you would want CPR, a feeding tube, a ventilator, etc. Generally, everyone should have a living will.

Mental Health Authority

Mental health authority can give your healthcare power of attorney the ability to admit you to an inpatient or outpatient behavioral health facility. This makes a lot of people anxious. They do not like the idea of someone having the power to place them in a locked facility. However, we typically recommend giving your agent this power. Your agent will not be able to admit you without a physician’s recommendation that you be placed in a behavioral health facility. If you are suffering from dementia and need to be admitted for your own safety, your agent will have to pursue an emergency guardianship without this power. Having to submit a petition to the court will result in a delay in your ability to receive care and create more work for your agent.

Organ Donation

Your healthcare power of attorney can describe your wishes regarding organ donation. You can consent to organ donation for transplant, research or whole-body donation to a medical school. You will want to make sure your driver’s license matches your wishes in your health care power of attorney. If you want your organs donated for a specific purpose, such as whole-body donation, you will want to research programs and consider signing up during your lifetime. Then your healthcare power of attorney can reference plans you previously arranged.

Cremation or Burial

Cremation or burial provisions are not required in a healthcare power of attorney. If you do not have strong feelings either way, you may choose to exclude this provision. If you have prepaid for cremation or burial during your lifetime, your healthcare power of attorney should reference these arrangements.


A.R.S. § 36-3211 requires agents under a healthcare power of attorney in Arizona to encourage the principal’s contact with persons who have a significant relationship. However, the statute allows the principal to give their agent this specific authority in a healthcare directive. This can be a useful power to grant to your agent for a couple of reasons. Your agent can protect you from potential scammers who target vulnerable populations. Your agent can also protect your privacy from individuals who may claim to have a significant relationship to you. You should consider having a conversation with your agent about who should and should not be able to visit you.

Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry

The Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry allows you to register your healthcare power of attorney, and other healthcare directives, with the State of Arizona. This registration gives healthcare providers in Arizona access to your healthcare power of attorney. You must complete and notarize the registration agreement to sign up for the registry.

You should only give your agent powers that you feel comfortable giving them. But you should consider the potential consequences of not giving your agent certain powers.

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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.