California has updated how you appoint a healthcare surrogate to make medical decisions for you when you become incapacitated. The Advance Health Care Directive has replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) and the Natural Death Act Declaration. Now you have more flexibility to instruct others about your critical and end-of-life care.
Being prepared ensures your last wishes are honored. Executing an Advance Health Care Directive with assistance from an experienced power of attorney lawyer takes the onus off your family member or trusted loved one who might otherwise have to make decisions without really knowing what you want. For help revising a medical power of attorney in Tustin or drafting an Advance Health Care Directive, give our office a call.
Are Medical Powers of Attorney Still Valid?
California residents who have already adopted Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care should know they remain valid. No further action is required, but residents should review their DPAHC to make sure it still reflects their wishes. They may want to consider replacing a medical power of attorney with an Advance Health Care Directive. The DPAHC names a health care agent but does not express a person’s instructions for medical treatment, leaving decisions up to the named agent. An Advance Health Care Directive can do both.
Residents may also have executed a Natural Death Act Declaration, the state’s version of a living will that communicates people’s final wishes concerning life support when their medical condition is terminal. These declarations are still valid but are also incorporated into the more recent Advance Health Care Directive. Talk to a Tustin lawyer to better understand medical power of attorney.
The Advantages of an Advance Health Care Directive
The Advance Health Care Directive combines medical power of attorney and a living will into one document. It provides added flexibility because residents can instruct medical teams about any or all treatment options, not just whether they wish to be removed from life support or receive nutrition while in a coma.
People often appoint their adult children as agents to make healthcare decisions under the medical power of attorney. When an elderly parent becomes gravely ill, an Advance Health Care Directive keeps a child from overriding their parent’s wishes and ensures a person’s health care choices are honored.
Because the directive encompasses all aspects of health care, the missives in a living will expand beyond life support at the very end.
Who Can Adopt an Advance Health Care Directive?
State residents who are 18 or older, or are emancipated minors, can adopt an Advance Health Care Directive if they are not being coerced and are of sound mind. Adults who have been committed involuntarily to a mental health care facility can name the conservator appointed for them by a judge to serve as their health care surrogate. Our lawyers in Tustin can advise clients about these crucial medical powers of attorney planning documents.
The Secretary of State’s Registry
California’s Secretary of State oversees the Advance Health Care Directive Registry as mandated in the Probate Code Section 4800. The directives are registered, and the information is made readily available by request from a health care provider, guardian, conservator, or legal representative.
Talk to a Tustin Lawyer About the Streamlined Medical Power of Attorney
To streamline how a person allocates health care decisions when they cannot make them, California has combined the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Natural Death Act Declaration into the Advance Health Care Directive. The directive allows you to choose an agent to make decisions for you or memorializes your wishes, which an agent is legally bound to follow.
Your directive is registered so it can be easily accessed when needed. Directives are an important tool in your estate planning arsenal because they will eliminate any confusion about what care you should receive and take stress off your loved ones. As a replacement for the medical power of attorney in Tustin, a lawyer could guide you in making a directive. Give us a call to learn more.