Advance directives are an important estate planning tool for California residents. They allow you to give instructions for how your health should be handled if you cannot make your own healthcare decisions.
Many residents hesitate to create an advance directive before they actually need it. They might not see the need for it just yet, or it may be uncomfortable to think about. There are plenty of reasons to think about your advance directive early.
What’s an advance directive
An advance directive assigns a power of attorney to make your healthcare decisions on your behalf. It will usually be a trusted family member or friend with whom you’ve discussed your feelings about healthcare and end-of-life decisions.
You can also utilize a living will along with a power of attorney in your estate plan to ensure your exact wishes are carried out. A living will is a document that outlines your wishes regarding medical treatment, specifically treatments you are not willing to receive and how you want your pain to be managed.
Advance directives are helpful for everyone
It’s commonly assumed only elderly or seriously ill individuals need advance directives. At any moment, though, a healthy young person could become unable to make medical decisions.
Freak accidents or sudden illnesses can limit your ability to make cognizant healthcare decisions. This puts all the onus on your closest family members to decide what’s best for you.
Creating your advance directives
It’s important to ensure that your advance directive complies with the law of your state. Verbal conversations would not automatically grant your chosen person permission to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
Your immediate family members or friends may be upset by the decisions your power of attorney makes. Hopefully, they’ll take some comfort knowing that your power of attorney made decisions based on your wishes.