Advance Health Care Directive or Living Will

An elderly couple setting up an advanced health care plan

Incapacitating injuries and illnesses can strike suddenly. Even the most comprehensive of estate plans are of no use if you are still alive.  In some states, a document called a “living will” may provide guidance on your health care and end-of-life decisions.  In California, statutes provide for the creation of an “advance health care directive,” which serves substantially the same function, though it also names an agent to interpret and implement your instructions and convey them to your health care providers and others.

Either way, without an instrument in place to provide for your health care and end-of-life decisions, your loved ones may be left guessing what medical decisions you would make for your own care. Life-sustaining treatment may be provided or withheld against your wishes if you do not adequately record those desires. 

As you plan for your end-of-life concerns, do not neglect to consider what should happen if you remain alive but are unable to communicate your wishes. Our San Mateo estate planning lawyers at Loew Law Group will work with you to craft a complete estate plan, including an advance health care directive, that articulates your desires and preferences when you cannot speak for yourself.

How an Advance Health Care Directive Operates in California

An advance health care directive provides instructions to your chosen agent and medical providers concerning certain medical preferences you have. These preferences regularly center around the type of care you would like to receive near the end of your natural life. 

An advance health care directive might specify, for example, whether:

  • You want to be resuscitated if you die
  • You want to receive artificial life support if there is little chance of recovery
  • You do not want to receive certain procedures, like blood transfusions
  • You want to receive palliative care and medications
  • You desire to donate your organs

Timing Is Important in Creating a Living Will

You should create your living will while you are healthy and mentally competent. Some of the considerations that go into your living will are weighty and deserve much deliberation. 

Waiting until the eve of major surgery or admission to a nursing home facility can make you feel rushed and lead to a document that is incomplete and that does not accurately reflect your true feelings.

Seek Assistance from a Knowledgeable San Mateo Estate Planning Law Firm

Loew Law Group is proud to provide our estate planning clients with quality representation and advice that is personally tailored to their individual needs. We get to know you so we can advise whether an advance health care directive and other legal documents are suitable to accomplish your objectives. Experience the difference our attorneys can make for you and your family by scheduling your free initial consultation today.