There are many concerns that arise when a person suddenly becomes seriously ill. Among these concerns is the need to make medical decisions, which often falls on the shoulders of stressed or even grieving loved ones. Without a living will or Advance Health Care Directive, family members can be left to guess what their ailing loved one would have wanted in any given situation.
Don’t leave your loved ones guessing. Consider having a living will drafted for you. In California, the living will is typically referred to as an Advance Health Care Directive. As our estate planning lawyers advise, state law provides the right to create an Advance Directive, which is a legally binding document setting out your medical wishes should you fall ill and be unable to communicate your wishes.
Among the important considerations necessary to implement an Advance Health Care Directive, determining who should be named as your health care agent as well as any successor agents is primary. Your named agent will be your voice if you cannot communicate and will be in charge of making sure your directives are carried out. Given this, it is critical to name a person or persons who you trust and with whom you have spoken about your wishes should you become incapacitated.
With an Advance Health Care Directive, it is possible to make legally binding decisions ahead of time about health care you may or may not wish to have, decisions which typically extend beyond the ability to refuse life-sustaining treatment or implementing a do not resuscitate (“DNR”) order. Such a document also allows you to provide guidance to medical providers as to the types of life-sustaining treatment you wish to receive and at what point you choose to refuse such care.
The changes made to California law regarding living wills does not make prior medical treatment and end of life documents that were executed under previous laws invalid. Nonetheless, if it has been a while since you considered these issues, now may be a good time to review your needs and wishes with your family or business attorney to determine if your documents should be updated. For more information about our estate planning services, browse our website or contact us for a free evaluation.