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What Is An Advance Healthcare Directive?


An advance healthcare directive is a comprehensive document that a person executes to make decisions about their personal care, their medical decisions and to appoint the person who would be the one to make those decisions for them. It has provisions in it for a power of attorney for healthcare to name the person to make their medical decisions. It has instructions about general and ordinary medical care, end of life decisions, and even post-death decisions (burial or cremation, funeral or memorial service, etc.). It can also give or deny permission for organ donation after death. All of those kinds of desires can be expressed in this document.

Why Should Someone Have An Advance Healthcare Directive?

If a person does not have an advance healthcare directive and they become incapacitated and can no longer make their own medical decisions, then it’s up to the doctors and other medical professionals to make those decisions based on their understanding and their determination of what’s best. Alternatively, they could choose someone close to the incapacitated person to make the decisions. However, they might not choose the same person that the incapacitated person would have. They tend to choose people based on how closely they’re related rather than on shared beliefs, goals or ideals, simply because they don’t know. They may choose a person who thinks very differently but is closely related, and it may not be the decision that the incapacitated person would have wanted.

Can I Make Changes To My Advance Healthcare Directive?

You can absolutely make changes to your advance healthcare directive. Changes can be made at any time while a person has capacity, up to and including revoking the entire thing and creating a new one. It is all within your control.

What Happens If I Become Incapacitated Before Setting Up An Incapacity Plan?

Someone will have to go to court and petition for permission to be your conservator. You don’t have a say in who that will be because at that point you are incapacitated. So, it may or may not be the person you would have picked. The court is more likely to simply approve the first relative who shows up and seems able to do it. They don’t generally ask questions about whether they share the same value system, or whether they’ve discussed certain issues with the incapacitated person. So again, it may not be the person you would have wanted. In addition, all of the costs of the conservatorship come from your estate during your lifetime and can affect your standard of living.

How Does Incapacity Planning Make Things Easier For My Family?

Incapacity planning tells your family what you want. Deciding where you will live, what kind of care you will get, what kind of treatment you will get if you have a medical condition, and when treatment should be withheld are all very difficult decisions to make. However, they are far more difficult if you have not given instructions as to what your wishes are. If they are simply following your wishes, then at least they are not the ones having to make the decisions. It will give them some peace of mind to know that they are doing what you wanted.

Additional Information On Incapacity Planning In California

The state of California has a system by which you can register your advance healthcare directive so that if you are away from home and you get into an accident or fall ill and you don’t have your healthcare directive with you, medical professionals can look it up by your driver’s license number or your name. Then, they can contact the person who is supposed to make medical decisions for you. There is a one-time fee of $10. They will keep these documents on record so that only medical professionals can access them in the event of an emergency.

For more information on Advanced Healthcare Directive In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

Newell & Havens Attorney At Law

Call for a free assessment of your needs
(626) 385-6303.

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