Advanced Directive/Living Will Lawyer in CA

California law gives you the right to name someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are sick or injured and unable to make your own decisions. The law also gives you the right to establish instructions for the type of care you want in certain situations if you can’t communicate on your own.

However, to claim these rights, you have to set up specific documents. If the documents don’t comply with legal requirements, they won’t work. It makes sense to get help from an attorney who prepares advance directives and living wills. Rather than using a standard form, I work with you individually so that I can create advance directives designed for your specific needs.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive for health care is a direction you prepare in advance that meets legal requirements so that it can be acted on by doctors and other health care professionals. In California, a health care directive has two parts.

The first part is a medical power of attorney that authorizes someone to make decisions for you if necessary. The second part is a living will. This document allows you to describe the type of care you want or don’t want to receive if you are suffering from a medical condition that is expected to be fatal, and you are not conscious.

You can set up one document independently without the other. However, establishing both provides helpful reinforcement for your loved ones and for health care providers.

Health Care Power of Attorney

In a power of attorney document, you name someone to serve as your agent, and you give that person authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. It is also a good idea to include an alternate agent who can take on the role if your original agent is not able to serve.

You can name any adult as your agent, unless they work for a medical facility where you are receiving care. Your agent does not need any specific qualifications or training. However, it is important to choose someone you trust, and it is helpful to ask ahead of time if they are willing to be your agent. It is also a good idea to have a talk with your agent so they understand the types of treatment you would want in certain situations.

Living Will

With a living will, you can specify whether you want life-prolonging treatment if you are suffering from a serious medical condition that is expected to soon lead to death. You can also explain your preferences for pain medication.

When you have a living will prepared, your health care agent can feel confident making decisions that reinforce your choices. As we prepare your living will, I take the time to ensure that you understand the impact of your choices. I can create a document with more detail than many of the standard forms used by others.

Get the Right Advance Directives to Protect Your Future

Without advance directives in place, you could be left waiting for treatment while doctors try to obtain authorization or determine your preferences. When you are approaching the end of life, you could be subjected to treatment you don’t want, or you could be denied your preferred pain medication.

I can prepare a health care power of attorney and living will designed to keep you in control of your treatment. To talk to me about these essential documents, just schedule a planning session with The Law Office of Eric Ridley here.