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A California advance health care directive, also sometimes referred to as a “living will” or a “health care power of attorney,” is a legal document designed to give you a measure of control over your health care decisions if you become incapacitated at some point in the future and are no longer capable of making your own decisions. Read on to discover the three main elements to health care directives in California.
First, you have the opportunity to designate one or more agents and successor agents. An advance health care directive allows you to identify someone who can make your healthcare wishes known, and who can advocate for the type and level of care you want, if you are unable to do so yourself.
The second element is spelling out the extent of your agent’s authority. It’s important to give your agent the authority to access your medical records under HIPAA privacy laws, and to be clear what additional powers you want your agent to have. These may include the power to make decisions about where you will receive treatment, whether your organs and tissues should be donated after your death, and the disposition of your remains (i.e. cremation vs. burial), among others.
The third element is the piece many clients struggle with; it involves spelling out what some of your health care wishes are, giving your agent a road map of sorts so they know what you want done in certain scenarios. One provision that is key is your wishes about whether care, including artificial sustenance, breathing tubes, pain medication and other treatments should be continued or discontinued in the event your health care providers feel there is no reasonable hope of recovery.
The decisions you ultimately make are personal; there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Documenting those decisions on an advance health care directive now, while you have the capacity to do so, can help ease your loved ones’ stress if you become incapacitated in the future.
Secure a financially sound future for you and your loved ones by partnering with us. At our firm you can be sure that your satisfaction will always be our first priority. We will be your trusted advisor at every step of the process. Our services are available at competitive prices and do not involve any hidden costs. We are here to guide you through the difficult decisions that will protect your family after your passing. Contact us today to get started!