Being able to decide what medical care you want is a core privilege as an adult. Sadly, situations can arise where you are no longer able or willing to make healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, a decline in your physical or mental health can take away your ability to make informed medical decisions.
Fortunately, an advance healthcare directive or a living will helps you retain control over your medical situation to ensure your wishes are honored in the event you become incapacitated. Likewise, these legal documents give the power to make decisions about your healthcare to another trusted friend or family member when you cannot. A dedicated attorney in Orange County could provide more information about drafting a plan for your future and preserving your legal rights.
The Legal Requirements for Healthcare Directives
A healthcare directive or a living will is an official document that carries the weight of the law, meaning it is essential to understand the purpose of these documents and how to create them to satisfy all legal requirements. However, state law does not contain the words “living will.” Instead, it uses the term “advance healthcare directive” to describe situations where a person grants another individual the authority to make medical decisions on their behalf.
Because there are few legal restrictions on healthcare directives, these documents can take on almost any appearance as long as the person creating the document understood what they were doing at the time of drafting. According to California Probate Code § 4673, healthcare directives must contain the following:
- The date of execution
- The patient’s signature or another’s signature given by the instructions of the patient
- The signatures of two witnesses or a notary public’s seal
If a document meets these standards, a court will likely confirm that the will is genuine. A knowledgeable attorney in Orange County could help guide individuals through the legal process of creating an advance healthcare directive.
Advance Healthcare Directive as a Portion of a Comprehensive Estate Plan
Many individuals believe estate plans only effects them after they pass. However, it is essential to know that a healthcare directive allow individuals to maintain control over their medical care. For example, if you cannot articulate the type of medical treatment you desire, these documents will enable another party to act on your behalf or explain your choices to you.
In addition, a healthcare directive can ensure people pass without invasive treatments or life support. An attorney could work with people to identify their goals and determine how a healthcare directive can help preserve their wishes.
Speak with an Attorney Now to Talk More About Advance Healthcare Directives in Orange County
The focus of a healthcare directive is to maintain control over your life. People with an advance healthcare directive will grant the decision-making power to another party, which takes effect if the individual cannot make their own decisions regarding their healthcare. It is illegal for a medical professional to ignore these documents.
A lawyer could help you better understand healthcare directive and their roles in estate planning. Additionally, a legal team member could work to understand your goals and draft documents that clearly outline your intentions and wishes for the future. Reach out to a dedicated attorney today to learn more about advance healthcare directives in Orange County.