California Advanced Healthcare Directive Attorney

Most people do not want to think about what would happen to them in the case of a serious illness or injury. Many Americans do not have a legal plan in place which specifies the kind of medical treatment they would like to receive in the event of an injury.

If you become incapacitated after an accident, your spouse or children may make medical decisions on your behalf.  If you have discussed your health care preferences with them beforehand, they will likely choose the same course of treatment you request, but if they do not know your preferences, they might choose a different treatment altogether.  If family members disagree on the course of treatment, a nasty conflict could arise and result in a legal battle.

At San Diego Esquire,  we provide affordable estate planning services to California residents. We can help you prepare an California advanced healthcare directive for as low as $295. Sign up on our website today to begin the process.

The Importance of a California Advanced Healthcare Directive

A California advanced health care directive is a legal document that lets others, namely family members and health care providers, know your medical preferences.  Before signing an advanced health care directive, you should discuss the pros and cons of potential treatments with your doctor or healthcare provider.  An advanced health care directive will outline both treatments you do not want as well as treatments you would want in the event of incapacitation.

There are two main types of advanced health care directives: living wills and durable power of attorney for health care.

A living will dictates what kind of care you wish to receive if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.  A living will may include a DNR (do not resuscitate) order.  A DNR order states that if your heart or breathing stops, you do not want medical staff to attempt to restart it using CPR, artificial respiration, or a defibrillator.  In the course of treatment, a hospital may need to place you on a mechanical ventilator or feed you via feeding tube.  A living will can specify how long you wish to be kept alive by either of these methods.  A living will can include decisions about comfort care and pain management.  A living will probably will include a directive about organ donation.  A person may need to designate if organ donation takes precedence over the other provisions.  Sometimes a person must be kept on a ventilator for a period of time to keep vital organs viable.

A durable power of attorney for health care names someone as a health care proxy to make medical decisions for you when you cannot make them yourself.  The healthcare proxy is usually a spouse, close friend, or relative.  Before you appoint a healthcare proxy, you should discuss your values and health care preferences with them.  You can also appoint alternate proxies in case your appointed proxy cannot be found or is incapacitated.  Without a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care, the state will appoint someone, usually a family member, to make medical decisions for you.

You can get a California advanced health care directive form from a health care provider, your local Area Agency on Aging, your state health department, or the American Bar Association.  These organizations have basic easy to fill out forms. Some states, such as California, require advanced health care directives to be notarized.  After preparing an advanced health care directive, you should give one copy to your doctor for your medical records, and a copy to your health care proxy and alternate proxy.

You can revise your California advanced health care directive at any time as your family status may change.  If you get remarried, you may wish to appoint your new spouse as your health care proxy.  Your medical condition may also change over time requiring a preference update. For example, your preferences when you are a healthy 30-year-old will be very different than your preferences as a chronically sick 70-year-old. Make sure your advanced health care directive reflects your current wishes.  If you move to a different state, you may need a new advanced health care directive prepared.  Once you create a California advanced health care directive, you should review it on a regular basis.

An advance health care directive ensures that if you become incapacitated, you will get the treatment you want.  Since advance health care directives are relatively inexpensive to prepare, you should definitely consider creating one.

Contact San Diego Esquire today to learn more about our services.

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