What Is an Advance Directive?

Did you know that there is much more to estate planning than wills and planning for death? Estate planning also involves planning for the unforeseeable and unpredictable things life can throw our way. For instance, it involves planning for incapacitation. No one is immune from the unpredictable and planning for incapacitation can not only bring you and your loved ones a great deal of peace of mind but can also put important legal protections in place to help ensure that your wishes and interests are protected even should you become suddenly incapacitated. Advance directives play a huge role in this.

What Is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is also known as an advance health care directive. In the State of California, the advance health care directive is a combination of a person’s living will as well as a medical power of attorney.

A living will is a legal tool that details your health care treatment preferences to be made on your behalf should you be in a terminal condition, incapacitated, and unable to communicate these preferences for yourself. You can outline the types of treatment you want or do not want at the end-of-life care stage. Furthermore, you can detail what diagnostic testing or surgical procedures you would want or not want as well as whether you would want cardiopulmonary resuscitation. You can also state your preferences regarding organ donation in your living will.

A medical power of attorney names a trusted person as your “agent,” with you as the principal. With the medical power of attorney that trusted individual is empowered to make critical health care decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated and unable to express these preferences for yourself. Who you select as your agent is a big decision and not one to take lightly. You will want someone dependable and steadfast in his or her communication of what you would have wanted. It can be difficult in times of distress or crisis for some loved ones to make tough decisions, even if they know that is what you would have wanted. Select someone who is utterly committed to serving your preferences regarding health care choices.

In order to put a solid advance care directive in place, you may wish to talk to your doctor about what end-of-life treatment options are out there. Get the information you need to make an informed decision as to what you want to include in your living will. Additionally, you will want to talk about your end-of-life care decisions with certain relevant and interested parties. You should definitely talk to your medical power of attorney agent about this and you should also talk to family members and loved ones so that they can prepare themselves should the time arise.

Estate Planning Attorneys

While death and incapacitation may not seem like the most pleasant topics, putting legal tools in place to plan for these things can save you and your loved ones a lot of stress and heartache. The trusted estate planning attorneys at OC Wills & Trusts are here to discuss your many options. Contact us today.