Palm Springs Law Blog

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Misconceptions & Myths: Demystifying Advance Medical Directives in California

If you've ever spent time in a hospital, you may have heard someone mention an “advance directive.” An advance directive is a legal document that outlines a person's wishes for emergency or end-of-life medical care. Medical directives should be made in advance of a medical emergency that makes an incapacitated person unable to communicate. 

Thinking about end-of-life scenarios can be emotionally challenging, and many myths surround advance healthcare directives. Understanding the myths and misunderstandings about advance healthcare directives in California can help you make informed decisions.

Myth: Only Elderly People Need Advance Health Care Directives

Everyone over 18 will benefit from creating an advance healthcare directive. Whether driving to and from work or being exposed to a dangerous, contagious medical condition, we all face unexpected risks daily. An untimely car accident caused by someone else's negligence could leave a person incapacitated for weeks or months. No matter how healthy and young you are, making your medical preferences known through an advance healthcare directive is wise. 

Myth: Creating an Advance Healthcare Directive Means Another Person Will Make My Healthcare Decisions

People may worry that if they discuss and write down their preferences for end-of-life care, they will hasten the end of their life. On the contrary, creating an advance healthcare directive allows you to clearly state what type of treatment you would or would not like to receive. Doing so doesn't necessarily mean you'll be hastening your death. For example, you can state that you want your healthcare practitioners to take whatever medical measures necessary to prolong your life, including extraordinary measures. 

In other words, you can state that you want your medical team to take measures designed to stop early mortality. Many people forego extraordinary measures to avoid the pain associated with some of the measures and to work towards a more peaceful death. However, deciding what measures you'd like to receive is entirely up to you. Creating an advance healthcare directive allows you to request a passing consistent with your beliefs, values, and preferences.

Myth: I Can Just Ask My Loved Ones to Carry Out My Wishes

Although you may love and trust your spouse, adult child, or friend, it doesn't mean they will always agree with you regarding end-of-life healthcare decisions. Verbally telling your loved one what types of medical interventions you'd like to receive may not be enough to ensure your wishes will be enforced. Your loved one may initially believe he or she will enact your wishes, but they may decide to make their own decisions about your care when you become incapacitated.

For example, you may have stated that you do not want extraordinary medical interventions in an end-of-life situation. Your loved one may decide that it is too emotionally challenging to make that decision. They may go against your wishes and tell the doctor you want extraordinary measures to be taken. Creating an advance healthcare directive allows you to ensure your healthcare agent will comply with your stated wishes. 


Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Palm Springs

Don't let common myths about advance healthcare directives stop you from completing one yourself. Decisions about end-of-life care can be challenging, but creating an advance healthcare directive can help you make your wishes known and legally enforceable. Attorney  Christopher Heritage of Heritage Legal, PC is prepared to help you make informed decisions and protect yourself with a comprehensive estate plan. Contact Heritage Legal, PC to schedule an initial consultation.

Archived Posts


Riverside CA Estate Planning Bankruptcy

© 2024 Heritage Legal, PC | Disclaimer
777 Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 328, Palm Springs, CA 92262
| Phone: 760-325-2020

Estate Planning | Living Trusts | Probate / Estate Administration | Living Wills | Trusts for Minors | Estate Tax Planning | Estate Planning for Homeowners | Durable Power of Attorney | Intestate Succession Laws | Spendthrift Trusts | Naming a Guardian for Your Child | Family Law | Estate Planning for Blended Families | Challenges with Assigning Beneficiaries | | LGBTQ | Testimonials | Upload | Locations | Articles


©  Heritage Legal, P.C.| Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Service | Attorney Website Design by Omnizant

©  Heritage Legal, P.C.| Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Service | Attorney Website Design by Omnizant