Most people focus on protecting their assets when creating an estate plan. Yet they often forget to document their healthcare wishes. Is this a mistake? You bet! For example, what happens if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated? Without an advance health directive in California, you could find yourself unable to communicate your healthcare wishes to your doctor or loved ones. Thus, it is crucial that you create this essential document.
At Davidson Estate Law, our attorneys are passionate about trust and estate law. We know that creating a California advance healthcare directive is important. If you are looking to protect yourself in a worst-case scenario, then give us a call. We can arrange a free no-obligation consultation.
An advance health directive in California does two things. First, it gives you the opportunity to give instructions about your own healthcare. This includes decisions about whether to withhold treatment to prolong your life. It also includes decisions about whether to administer pain relief. Further, you have room to add other healthcare decisions that you have made. This document is commonly referred to as a living will.
Second, you have the right to select an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. You can also select an agent to make healthcare decisions for you in the present moment. Further, you have the option of naming a second agent. He or she will make healthcare decisions on your behalf if your first choice is unavailable or unwilling. This document is commonly referred to as a medical power of attorney.
In California, your living will and medical power of attorney are combined into a single form called an advance health directive.
You do not need an attorney to create a healthcare directive. You can fill out the California Advance Healthcare Directive Form on your own. Yet there are three primary reasons why an attorney should create your healthcare directive.
An attorney will ensure that your healthcare directive is legally valid.
An attorney has experience drafting documents that address his or her client's specific circumstances.
The legal system views a healthcare directive created by an attorney as more legally defensible than a document prepared on your own. Thus, a court of law will hold it in higher regard.
In California, you can select an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Most people name a close family member or friend as their agent. Yet you cannot name the following people or entities as your agent:
Your treating healthcare provider
An employee of your treating healthcare provider
An operator or employee of a community care facility, unless you have a connection to this person through blood, adoption, or marriage
An operator or employee of a nursing home or long-term care facility, unless you have a connection to this person through blood, adoption, or marriage
At Davidson Estate Law, we recommend choosing a healthcare agent that is trustworthy. We also recommend choosing someone who shares your values and beliefs. Further, you need someone who stands strong in his or her convictions. He or she may face challenges from other family members when attempting to carry out your wishes. Thus, that person must know how to stay strong under pressure.
Generally, your primary physician will decide if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Yet, if there is any doubt about his or her determination, then you should seek a second opinion. Further, in certain circumstances, the Court will determine if you are no longer able to make your own healthcare decisions.
Yes. You can make changes to your healthcare directive. For example, if you wish to revoke the designation of an agent, then you have two options. First, you can make a written statement expressing your wish. Second, you can personally inform your supervising health care provider.
If you wish to revoke all or part of your healthcare directive, besides the designation of an agent, then you can do so. All you need to do is communicate your intention to revoke. An estate planning attorney can help you decide whether to revoke all or part of your healthcare directive.
Have you decided to create an advance health directive in California? Our Bay Area law firm will help you draft a document that meets your needs. We can also answer your questions about the trust and estate planning process in California.
For a consultation, call us. You can also send us a message online. We have offices in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, San Jose, and San Mateo. Do not hesitate to reach out! Now is the perfect time to draft documents protecting your healthcare wishes.