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What do Arkansas estate laws say about feeding tubes?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Estate Planning

A living will is a valuable tool that enables an adult in Arkansas or elsewhere who is of sound mind to sign specific instructions about finances, health care and other important issues. Executing an advance health care directive is often part of the estate planning and living will process. A plan may be customized to fit a particular person’s needs and goals, including but not limited to designating someone to make decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is no longer able to do so, as well as whether a feeding tube should be removed when a person is in the active stages of dying.

Is a feeding tube considered an extraordinary measure in Arkansas?

A person who executes an advance health care directive is legally referred to as a “declarant.” He or she may not want medical professionals to implement measures to prolong life if death is imminent. Under Arkansas law, inserting a feeding tube is considered “normal” care regarding consumption of food and water, as opposed to extraordinary measures, such as permanently sustaining life in an unconscious state.

However, state law allows feeding tubes to be removed in accordance with living will instructions. It also allows a declarant to revoke a living will after communicating with his or her physician. In this state, the physical or mental condition of a declarant is not relevant to his or her ability to revoke a living will.

Highly sensitive and personal issues may be addressed in a living will

A person may implement a living will or advance health care directive according to his or her own wishes. If the document was lawfully executed, another person (such as a family member of the declarant) may not usurp the instructions of a living will. Any adult in Arkansas who has concerns or questions regarding living will topics may request a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss a specific issue.