If you are incapacitated, someone else must make health care decisions for you. California law defines who can make the decisions if you fail to provide instructions. However, only you know who would be best to make decisions for you, and your comments about medical treatment and life-sustaining measures are important.
Clients are urged to execute an Advance Health Care Directive, naming an agent to make health care decisions and providing some guidance and limits for the agent.
When you complete the Advance Health Care Directive, you should indicate your specific desires regarding treatment, or any circumstances in which you might want life-sustaining treatment withheld. In addition, you may want to specify who may (or may not) visit you in the hospital, and who will be responsible for funeral or burial arrangements.
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) as of July 2000. However, 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.
Planning for Disability & Incapacity
- Who should make decisions about your medical treatment?
Who should visit you in the hospital?
Who will manage your finances?
Who should care for your children?
Will there be enough money if you are disabled?
(including lost income, benefits?)