Palm Springs Advanced Health Care Directive Attorney

Creating a comprehensive and effective estate plan is more than drafting a will or trust document. An estate plan should also include an advance medical directive. If you become incapacitated due to injury or illness, an advance healthcare directive allows the person you appoint as your agent to make medical decisions for you on your behalf. You can also include your wishes as to what types of life-saving or sustaining treatments you would like to receive if you are incapacitated.

Attorney Christopher Heritage of Heritage Legal, PC understands the importance of advance healthcare planning. He regularly works with clients in the Palm Springs area to ensure their wishes will be fulfilled should they become incapacitated. Whether you have an existing estate plan and would like to update it or you would like to create an estate plan, he will listen carefully to help you create an estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals. 

What Is an Advance Healthcare Directive?

An advance healthcare directive is a legal document informing your doctors and loved ones about your medical wishes. It's important to understand that the advance healthcare directive will not be used unless you have been declared competent by a medical doctor. In other words, you can still make your own medical decisions after signing an advance healthcare directive. 

The directive will only be used if you are in a coma, have developed late-stage Alzheimer's or dementia, or are otherwise unable to communicate your preferences for medical care. In California, there are two main components of an advanced directive. First, you will appoint an agent to make decisions for you. Second, you will provide a set of instructions for your wishes regarding your medical treatment. You aren't required to include both parts in your document, but doing so is advisable.

When you include both parts, your agent will clearly understand what type of decisions you would like him or her to make regarding your healthcare treatment. The state of California provides a standard healthcare directive form that includes both sections, but working with an attorney to complete the form can be helpful. An attorney can help you understand the different options on the form. 

Do I Need an Advance Healthcare Directive?

Yes, it's beneficial for everyone 18 and older to have an advance healthcare directive. Creating an advance healthcare directive will help you clarify your wishes regarding life-sustaining and life-saving medical treatment. The documents will give you peace of mind, knowing you have communicated your wishes effectively. When you create a legally enforceable document, you can rest assured that your desires will be respected and acted upon should it become necessary. Additionally, detailing which procedures you do and don't want to have removes a significant burden from your loved ones. Instead of trying to decide what they think you would like to happen, they can be sure that they are fulfilling your wishes by acting on your advance healthcare directive.

Providing Instruction for Your Healthcare

Your advance healthcare directive should include what types of medical treatment you would or would not like to receive at the end of your life. For example, you should specify whether you would like to be placed on mechanical ventilation, except hydration and nutritional assistance through an IV, receive dialysis, or be resuscitated, if necessary. 

If you include your wishes, your healthcare agent may be able to decide for you. There could be conflict between family members regarding what types of medical decisions you would or would not make yourself. Taking the time to state your wishes clearly can help you and your loved ones Ensure your wishes will be followed, making an already stressful situation a little less so.

Thinking about end-of-life situations can be difficult. Attorney Christopher Heritage provides clients with compassionate legal advice. He will discuss the medical situations that could arise at any point in your life and help you make informed decisions about what type of care you would or would not like to receive.

Requirements for an Advance Health Directive in California

California law does implement several requirements for creating a legally valid, enforceable advance healthcare directive. When the document is created and signed, the person creating the directive needs to be 18 years old or older and be of sound mind and capacity. Two adult witnesses or a notary public must sign and validate the advance healthcare directive. The signature proves they acknowledge that the person creating a document is acting out of his or her own will and competence. 

California law prohibits a healthcare agent, supervising healthcare provider, alternate healthcare agent, or an employee of a healthcare facility from acting as a witness to an advance healthcare directive. Additionally, family members by marriage, blood, or adoption cannot act as witnesses to an advance healthcare directive. 

After you create and sign your advance healthcare directive, you have the right to change the terms of the directive or revoke it. However, you must inform your healthcare provider in person or through writing. If you create a new advance healthcare directive, it will revoke any previous directives.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Palm Springs

Thinking about emergency medical situations and end-of-life scenarios isn't easy, but it is important. Attorney Christopher Heritage of Heritage Legal, PC, is prepared to help you ensure you have a legally valid advance healthcare directive as part of your comprehensive estate plan. 

He will ensure that your advance healthcare directive follows all requirements under California law so it will be considered legally valid. He can also help you create a durable power of attorney and work with you to ensure you have a long-term care plan. Don't hesitate to contact Heritage Legal, PC to learn more about how Christopher Heritage can help you meet your estate planning goals.

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