The Advance Health Care Directive

In the year 2000, the State of California adopted an Advance Health Care Directive form, by which, a person may set out his or her directions concerning health care, end-of-life decisions, and related concerns.

This form is comprised of three main components:

First, it contains a power of attorney for health care, by which you may designate a person (and “back-up[s]”), called your “agent,” to make health care decisions on your behalf, should you be unable (for example, be in a coma).

Second, it gives you the choice to direct that your health care provider provide, withhold, or withdraw health treatment for yourself under circumstances where your physicians expect you to die within a relatively short period of time.

Third, the form enables you to offer to donate, upon your death, your organs, tissues, and other body parts, subject to any limitations your may impose.

In addition, the form enables you to make known any of your other related wishes, such as, for example, burial/cremation instructions.

The Advance Health Care Directive is an important document, typically prepared at the time you prepare your estate planning documents. Hospitals and physicians do rely on this document. While a completed form does not automatically terminate after a given period of time, it is best that it be done afresh or “re-validated” at least every five years, so that third parties (physicians and hospitals) who are asked to rely on it can be sure it states your current intentions.

The above statements are not to be taken as legal advice for the reader’s particular situation. 

Richard F. McEntyre practices law in the area of estate planning and administration, having served the San Diego community as a lawyer for over 40 years. Chris von der Lieth is Dick’s associate lawyer, having worked with Dick for over 6 years. Affordable rates. Highest quality services. House calls available. Our office is conveniently located at 2615 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 101 (in Mission Valley just east of Bully’s restaurant) (Telephone (619) 221-0279);

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