What is an Advance Health Care Directive?
An Advance Health Care Directive is a legal document which (1) appoints one or more individuals you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so and (2) sets forth (a) the types of medical treatment you want to receive under certain circumstances and (b) the types of medical treatment you do not want under certain circumstances.
Everyone who is an adult (18 or older in the State of California) needs an Advance Health Care Directive. An unexpected accident, severe illness, or old age could prevent you from selecting your own healthcare treatment. Without a legal record of your preferences, the choice of your treatment could be put in the hands of distant family members or unsympathetic doctors. Without a Health Care Directive, your doctors and other medical providers will have no idea how you want to be treated.
With an Advance Health Care Directive, you can ensure that your treatment wishes are honored.
Choosing an Agent to Look After Your Healthcare Directive
The agent you select to look after your healthcare directive will be responsible for carrying out your medical wishes. This means that your agent will need to step in if you designate a treatment you specifically don't want, but another family member stubbornly insists on it. Only the person you designate will have the legal power to enforce which treatments or healthcare provisions you will receive.
For this reason, it is important you select an agent who will be assertive and strong. In some cases, your agent may have to overrule the preferences of family or medical personnel who want to proceed in some other manner. As long as your treatment preferences don't violate the law or the standards or policies of the hospital where you are being treated, the healthcare provider is legally obliged to follow your instructions or transfer you to another institution. When a doctor or institution knowingly violates your healthcare directive without consulting your agent, they may be legally responsible for damages.
Choosing an agent that lives close to you is also important. Although you may also choose a sibling, friend or other person who lives too far away, you might jeopardize your health care by the delay involved, or the medical personnel might be forced to provide you with treatment you did not want to receive. Also, consider that, in some cases, your
treatment might require your designated agent to remain available for an extended period of time. If you don't have an agent you want to name, you can still describe how you want to be treated in a document known as "Living Will." [Although this document is not actually a "Will" at all, this has become the popular name for this type of health care directive, so we the name in the document we create for our clients.]
After you create your Advance Health Care Directive, you must be sure to provide a copy of your Directive to the individual you appointed as your Attorney-in-Fact for your health care decisions. To make this easy for you, we provide you with a complete copy of your Estate Plan in digital form after all of the documents have been signed and notarized.
ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFORMATION:
111 North Market Street, Suite 300
San Jose, CA 95113
Visit us on Linked In