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California Statutory Estate Planning Forms

California Statutory Advance Health Care Directive
California Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
California Statutory Form Will
Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit

Last Updated October 18, 2000
See also Wills on the Web - famous & historical people's wills

Warning: Links to the following state-authorized forms are provided for convenience only. Use these forms at your own risk. You should consult with a California attorney who can provide specific legal advice after discussing your specific circumstances and needs. Do not use these forms if you do not live in California.


The following links are to the California State Legislature's ftp server, where the actual text of California's laws are stored in small "clumps." Unfortunately, some code sections are missing from the ftp server, and others contain typographical errors. Therefore, you may find it more useful to print out the statutory citations and travel to a local law library (usually found in or near each Superior Court branch, or at any law school).

Health Care Decisionmaking

California provides a statutory form for health care directions. It is called the Advance Health Care Directive. By completing the Advance Health Care Directive, California law allows you to do either or both of two things: First, you may appoint another person to be your health care "agent". This person will have legal authority to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Second, you may write down your health care wishes in the Advance Health Care Directive including a desire not to receive treatment that only prolongs the dying process if you are terminally ill. The Advance Health Care Directive is relatively new having been enacted by the legislature in July 2000. The Advance Health Care Directive replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Declaration pursuant to the Natural Death Act (or "Living Will" as it was commonly known). All valid Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Declarations pursuant to the Natural Death Act remain valid. However, any Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care executed before 1992 have expired and should be replaced with the new Advance Health Care Directive. Please note that printed copies of the Advance Health Care Directive can be ordered from the California Medical Association (and from many doctors and hospitals). For information about ordering CMA forms, call (800) 882-1262 or (415) 882-5175.

The California Statutory Advance Health Care Directive is described in Probate Code sections 4700-4701.


Durable Power of Attorney (General/Financial)

The California Statutory Form Durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate an "agent" to manage your financial and personal affairs. The general Durable Power of Attorney is immediately effective unless you indicate otherwise on the form. The general DPA form is quite powerful (and hence dangerous): your DPA agent could legally sell your home without any further signature from you. Do not sign any Power of Attorney without carefully considering the risks and benefits.

The California Statutory Form Durable Power of Attorney is described in California Probate Code sections 4400-4465. Unfortunately, the current version of the statute available from the California legislature's ftp server does not contain the text of the form, which appears in Probate Code Section 4401. In addition, the ftp server splits these provisions into two "clumps" of statutes: Probate Code Sections 4400-4409 and Probate Code Sections 4450-4465


California Statutory Form Will

An article in California Lawyer (June 1989) reported that more than half of the "statutory form wills" submitted for probate were rejected as invalid. The current California Statutory Form Will may be suitable for most situations, but it is not appropriate for a large number of Californians, especially those in "blended families" (remarried persons with children from a prior marriage). In addition, some publicly-available "form wills" and other estate-planning documents (including forms available over the Internet and some software sold in stores, as well as stationary-store forms) contain significant errors that would make them invalid (or of questionable validity) in California. Be very careful when using any form document, especially a form will.

The California Statutory Form Will is described in Probate Code sections 6200-6243. Unfortunately, the current version of the statute available from the California legislature's ftp server does not contain the text of the actual form. In addition, the ftp server splits these provisions into three "clumps" of statutes: Probate Code Sections 6200-6211 (definitions) and Probate Code Sections 6220-6227 (general provisions) and Probate Code Sections 6240-6243 (form and full text of clauses)


Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit (education & medical care for minors)


Go to the Table of Contents of "Estate Planning for California Residents."

See also Wills on the Web - famous & historical people's wills

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