Long Beach Advanced Healthcare Directives Lawyers Helping Clients Create a Written Record of Their Healthcare Preferences
Everyone likes to plan for the future, but nobody wants to think about what would happen if they became ill or incapacitated, or were suddenly faced with physical trauma or other medical condition that resulted in being unable to speak for themselves and make treatment decisions. But there is an important set of documents that you can use to record your wishes for how you would like to be treated and help guide your family when they need to make decisions on your behalf. Our attorneys explain the role of an advanced healthcare directive and why you should consider getting one regardless of your current health status.
What Documents Are Part of an Advanced Healthcare Directive in California?
An advanced healthcare directive is a combination of documents such as a living will and a power of attorney that work together to inform and guide your family and your treating physicians about your preferences for treatment in case you were unconscious or mentally incapable to speak for yourself and make decisions.
Your living will contains specific instructions about your preferred doctors, hospitals, and any cultural or religious beliefs that may affect the type of treatment you receive. You may also add instructions concerning life support and end-of-life care. In addition, with a power of attorney document, you can appoint a person you trust as your agent and give them the authority to speak to physicians and make treatment decisions on your behalf.
Is a Last Will Part of an Advanced Healthcare Directive?
While a last will is an extremely important estate planning document, it only addresses matters relevant to after you pass away. An advanced healthcare directive contains instructions for how you would like to be treated while you are still alive but incapacitated. Your advanced healthcare directive documents can be written in a way to only be valid while you are incapacitated and become inactive if you make a full recovery, while your will cannot easily be changed after you pass away – only during your lifetime.
Many people add funeral instructions on their last will, but their wishes aren’t always respected because in some cases their family does not read the will until weeks after the funeral. For that reason, your advanced healthcare directive may be a more suitable place to record your preferences for your funeral.
Should I Get an Advanced Healthcare Directive Even if I Am Not Sick?
We all wish to remain healthy and live a long life, watching our families grow and living to enjoy our later years. Thinking about a situation in which we may find ourselves incapacitated or with declining health is not something anyone wants to do, but by taking the right steps, you can have greater peace of mind and one less thing to worry about knowing that your family would be aware of what to do if a healthcare crisis was to happen. For that reason, anyone – regardless of their age, economic status, and health – should consider having a valid advanced healthcare directive, as well as basic estate planning documents including a last will.
Do I Need an Attorney to Write My Advanced Healthcare Directive?
Hiring an attorney to write your advanced healthcare directive documents is not required, but it may be in your best interest to do so. While there are many places where you can obtain generic advanced healthcare directive forms and templates, only an attorney can help you make sure your documents are legally valid and will work the way you intend them to. Your attorney can also help you by asking questions and raising issues you may not otherwise have considered, as this process can sometimes be emotionally complicated for some clients.
At Barilari & Williams, LLP, our attorneys have a deep understanding of all aspects involved in creating or updating your advanced healthcare directive documents, and we are ready to assist you through every step. Contact our Long Beach office at 888-EST-PLAN and request an initial consultation to get started. We look forward to helping you!