Pasadena Advanced Healthcare Directive Lawyers Helping Clients Protect Their Wishes for Treatment in Case of Incapacitation in California
Many people believe that simply having a last will written is enough to take care of all their issues when they pass away. But what happens if you suddenly become very sick or incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes for medical treatment? Where should you record your wishes for end-of-life care and funeral preferences? Those are just some of the functions of an advanced healthcare directive. Our attorneys explain how an advanced healthcare directive works and what you should do to create one.
What Is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?
An advanced healthcare directive is a combination of at least two documents – a living will and a medical power of attorney. It could also include other documents such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order. Together, these documents allow your family and your doctors to know how you wish to be treated in case you are unable to speak for yourself.
The living will addresses specific treatment preferences – such as whether you would like to be placed on life support or not. You can also modify your advanced directives to reflect any religious or cultural belief that may affect what kind of healthcare you prefer to receive. A power of attorney gives a person of your choice the authority to speak to physicians, authorize procedures and make decisions according to your wishes.
What Is the Importance of Having an Advanced Healthcare Directive?
If you became incapacitated due to an illness, old age, or an unexpected accident and was unable to speak for yourself, would your family know what to do and make the right healthcare choices on your behalf? Having an advanced healthcare directive can relieve some of the burdens off your family during an already difficult time. It would also reduce the chances of disputes or disagreements over the type of treatment you would want to receive.
In addition, while many people add their preferences concerning their funeral to their last will, it is not unusual for the decedent’s will to be found and read many weeks after the funeral already took place. A living will is a more appropriate place for your to record your wishes for how you would like your funeral to happen as well as preferences for end-of-life or palliative care.
How Can I Obtain an Advanced Healthcare Directive in California?
There are many options to obtain an advanced healthcare directive in California. You may obtain a standard template or a form online at no cost, or you may ask your attorney to help you write a more customized solution that better reflects your needs.
However you choose to obtain your forms, it is important to take the right steps to ensure your advanced healthcare directive will be legally valid. Your documents need to be signed by you and either notarized or signed by two other witnesses. There are a few important rules concerning who should be your witnesses at the time of signing. It may be in your best interest to consult an attorney to make sure your advanced healthcare directive document is legally valid.
Do I Need an Attorney to Write My Advanced Healthcare Directive?
As previously mentioned, while there are many do-it-yourself options for those looking to create their advanced healthcare directives, you may find that the process can quickly become overwhelming. Relying on the knowledge and experience of an attorney that routinely helps clients create their advanced healthcare directives can help you make sure your documents truly reflect your wishes and that they will work as intended.
At Barilari & Williams, LLP, we understand nobody likes to think about being hospitalized or incapacitated. The goal of our legal team is to make the process of creating an advanced healthcare directive as easy and painless as possible while making sure the document covers all aspects of your healthcare preferences. If you have questions about creating your advanced healthcare directives or are ready to get started, contact our Pasadena office at 888-EST-PLAN.