Palm Springs Advanced Health Care Directive Attorney

Have you considered who will make decisions related to your medical treatment if you become incapacitated in the future? What type of medical treatment would you like to receive under these circumstances? One way to prepare for a medical emergency is to create an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD). An Advance Health Care Directive is a legal document that allows you to make important decisions now about your preferred medical treatment. Creating an Advance Health Care Directive will help your medical team follow your preferences.

If you need legal guidance related to creating an Advance Health Care Directive in Palm Springs, attorney Christopher Heritage is here to help. An experienced estate planning lawyer, Christopher Heritage has helped many Palm Spring residents create comprehensive estate plans. He understands that discussing end-of-life matters can be emotionally challenging, and he will empathetically walk you through completing your Advance Health Care Directive and answer any questions you have. Contact Heritage Legal, PC today to schedule your initial consultation.

Every Adult Benefits from Having an Advance Health Care Directive

There is a misconception that only older individuals should create Advance Health Care Directives. On the contrary, everyone over the age of 18 will benefit from creating an Advance Health Care Directive. Car accidents, work accidents, and other health emergencies happen to people of every age. Even if you are young and do not have any known medical conditions, you could become injured in an accident that renders you unable to communicate your medical wishes to your loved ones and doctors. Creating an Advance Health Care Directive allows you to clearly state your wishes and protect yourself in an unexpected health crisis.

What Is an Advance Health Care Directive?

Advance Health Dare Directives are one of the most important parts of an estate plan because they allow you to ensure you maintain control over your healthcare even if you become incapacitated. It is a legal document that states your medical care preferences should you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.

An Advance Health Care Directive allows you to appoint a family member or friend you trust, called your agent, to make medical decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. You can also appoint a doctor or other medical professional you trust to act as your healthcare agent.

However, these are not the same as medical powers of attorney or living wills. They are a unique legal document recognized in California that comprises several legal documents related to your wishes for medical treatment should you become incapacitated. Advance Health Care Directives encompass aspects of both living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care. There are three primary purposes of advance health care directives in California:

  • Appointing a health care agent: your agent will make healthcare decisions for you should you become unable to do so for yourself
  • Authority of your agent: grant your health care agent authority to make medical decisions that are consistent with your specific health care instructions and wishes
  • Living Will: specify the types of medical treatment you wish to receive in certain situations and which types of medical care you do not wish to receive

Do Not Resuscitate Order

You can choose to include a do not resuscitate order in your Advance Health Care Directive. A do not resuscitate order tells your doctors that you do not want to receive life-saving treatments such as CPR. DNR orders are supplemental orders that you can add to your directives and stipulates under which conditions you would and wouldn't like to be revived.


You can also include a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form in your Advance Health Care Directive. This form provides your medical team with more detailed instructions, including preferences regarding your health care. You can state whether you'd like intubation, what medication you’d like, and your preference on other life-sustaining medical interventions.

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Advance Health Care Directive in Place?

Without an Advance Health Care Directive, it's possible that strangers will decide what type of medical treatment you will receive. When a patient doesn't have an Advance Health Care Directive, a doctor will typically ask a family member to decide treatment options. Your doctor may select a family member you would not choose to make decisions on your behalf.

Unfortunately, we have seen cases where family members are not on the same page about their loved one’s medical treatment. For example, one family member may want doctors to use every available treatment to prolong their loved one’s life. Other family members may decide that it's better to remove the patient from life support. In some cases, family members have had to bring the conflict before a court and let the judge decide.

When you and your family members are going through a health emergency, the last thing you want is to experience conflict related to your medical care. By creating an Advance Health Care Directive, you will remove the burden of making tough medical decisions from your loved ones. When you make your preferences known and appoint a trusted agent, your family can focus on helping you and each other emotionally during a health crisis.

Can I Modify My Advance Health Care Directive?

Yes, you can change your Advance Health Care Directive by creating written statements expressing which changes you'd like to make. However, it's typically the best option to revoke your previous Advance Health Care Directive and create a new one from scratch to avoid any potential confusion. If you would like to update your Advance Health Care Directive or create a new one, attorney Christopher Heritage can help.

Contact a Palm Springs Advance Health Care Directive Lawyer

Creating an Advance Health Care Directive is a small but important part of the estate planning process. Attorney Christopher Heritage assists Palm Springs area clients with a broad range of estate planning matters, including creating Advance Health Care Directives. Contact Heritage Legal, PC, to schedule an initial consultation with a knowledgeable Palm Springs Advance Health Care Directive lawyer.

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