Advance Health Care Directive(s)

Although it can be difficult to think about, it’s important everyone has a plan for the end of their life and how they wish to be treated. That is why it’s so important to establish clear and indisputable instructions for your health care in the event you’re too incapacitated to make critical decisions. That way not only can you ensure your last wishes followed, but any medical records that can be accessed in emergency situations are readily available for your family so they can make a decision in accordance with your desires.

With an Advance Health Care Directive, this is all possible. The document allows you to appoint a loved one to be an “agent” that will act on your behalf if you’re unable to communicate your wishes to health care professionals. It addresses difficult questions such as whether you’d like your organs donated, if you want to remain on artificial life support, instructions regarding your remains, and other imperative information. Each Advance Health Care Directive should be customized to suit the individual’s needs, and this can be easily accomplished with the help of a seasoned California estate planning attorney like the legal team at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd..

Advance Health Care Directive California Lawyer | End of Life Estate Planning

If you’re ready to begin setting up an Advance Health Care Directive, look no further than the lawyers at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd.. For over 90 years, both Chris Botti and Paul Morison have assisted thousands of individuals and families create customized estate plans that take into consideration their long-term care or end of life wishes.

We understand how difficult these topics can be to discuss, which is why we always provide personalized highly responsive service and clear-cut answers for our clients. That way our clients can get busy living and be confident their affairs are sorted in the event of incapacity.

Call our office today at (877) 585-1885 to set up your first confidential consultation. Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. has several locations including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Valencia, San Luis Obispo, and Westlake Village.

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What is an Advance Health Care Directive California?

Unfortunately, no one knows what the future has in store for them. A sudden illness, accident, or advanced age could render you incompetent or incapacitated at any time. If this occurs and you don’t have the right legal documents in line, then your end-of-life wishes may not be granted or even heard. An Advance Health Care Directive ensures your health care preferences are followed and allows your family to avoid the cost and frustration and delay of petitioning for conservatorship at a time of potential extreme duress.

The document is arguably one of the most important you have in your estate planning arsenal. It allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf if you’re unable to communicate your wishes to doctors. This “health care agent” can fight to guarantee your health care wishes are respected by your family or doctors. They also address difficult questions such as whether you’d like to donate your organs or instructions regarding disposition and remains. There may be no greater gift to yourself or your family of having an Advance Health Care Directive in place.  The peace of mind that comes with it is priceless.

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How Advance Health Care Directives Works in California?

An Advance Health Care Directive is a medical power of attorney that allows you to name an individual to act as your health agent. If needed, you can also name an alternative agent in the event your first choice is unable to unwilling to make these healthcare decisions in your name. It’s important to note the agent cannot be any of the following under the California Probate Code Section 4701.

  • Operator or employee of a community care facility where you receive care
  • Operator or employee of a residential care facility where you live/receive care
  • Supervising health care provider or employee of a health care institution where you’re receiving care at
  • The only exception to this rule is if the agent is related to you or a coworker

Your agent can make all decisions regarding your healthcare for you unless you limit the scope of their authority. You of course do not have to limit your agent’s authority, but if you don’t it’s important to understand your agent has the right to:

  • Consent or refuse consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a mental or physical condition
  • Discharge or select health care providers or institutions
  • Disapprove or approve diagnostic tests, programs of medications, or surgical procedures
  • Direct the withholding, provision, or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration or any other form of health care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Donate tissues, organs, and parts, authorize an autopsy, and direct dispositions of your remains after you die

In addition to appointing an agent, you’ll be required to give specific instructions about any aspect of your health care. It’s important you are as detailed as possible when expressing wishes regarding the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of treatment to keep you alive as well as any provision related to pain relief.

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Does an Advance Health Care Directive Need to Be Notarized in California?

The last step after you create your Advance Health Care Directive is to sign the document with two witnesses or a notary. If you choose to pick two witnesses, they cannot be any of the following people:

  • Your appointed health agent
  • Your health care provider
  • Employee of your health care provider
  • Operator or employee of a community care facility
  • Operator or employee at a residential care facility

The witness also cannot be related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage. They also cannot be entitled to any part of your estate through any operation of law or under a will. Lastly, if you are in a skilled nursing facility, the document must also be witnessed by an ombudsman or patient advocate.

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Requirements for Advance Health Care Directive

In order for your Advance Health Care Directive to stand up on its own legally, you’ll need to meet all the legal requirements. These include the following:

  • Date of its execution
  • Signed by the patient or in their name by another adult in the patient’s presence and at their direction
  • Acknowledged by a notary or signed by at least two witnesses who satisfy the requirements outlined under California law

If a digital signature is used, it must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Meets the requirements of Section 16.5 of the Government Code and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22000) of Division 7 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations or the digital signature uses an algorithm approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Unique to the person using it
  • Capable of verification
  • Under sole control of the person using it
  • Lined to data in a matter where if the data is changed the signature is invalid
  • Persists with the document and not by association in separate files
  • Bound to a digital certificate

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Additional Resources

California Laws on Advance Health Care Directives – Visit the official website for the California Statutes to read up on their laws regarding Advance Health Care Directives. Access the site to learn more about what’s required in the document, what will make the document invalid, and other important information you may need.

CA Medical Decision Making Forms – Visit the official website for UCLA Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library to learn more about the forms associated with Advance Health Care Directives. Access the site to see sample forms, forms in various languages, instructions for these forms, other books you may want to look into for additional information, and web resources.

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California Estate Planning Lawyers for Advance Health Care Directives

It’s incredibly important you have answers at the ready for the hard health care decisions you may encounter as you age. These can all be accomplished with the Advance Health Care Directive prepared by the talented and skilled lawyers at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd.. Our attorneys have helped numerous people with Advance Health Care Directives and other important health care related estate matters for 90 years collectively. We have the in-depth knowledge you need to ensure all your affairs are sorted properly and with the least amount of cost.

Call today at (877) 585-1885 to set up your first consultation with Elder Law attorneys at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd.. Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. accepts clients throughout the greater Ventura County area and surrounding counties including San Luis Obispo County, Los Angeles County, Kern County, and Santa Barbara County.

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