Creating a strategic end-of-life healthcare plan is a crucial part of your estate planning documents. In the event of unanticipated end-of-life situations – serious illness, disability, or incapacitation – you can designate a trusted loved one to make vital medical decisions on your behalf. If you need assistance creating your advance healthcare directive or estate plan, you need to speak with an experienced California estate planning attorney immediately for detailed guidance.
At my firm, The Law Offices of Kenneth W. Drake, Inc., I have devoted my career to offering experienced legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in estate planning-related matters, including wills, trusts, estate litigation, powers of attorney, and advanced healthcare directives. I'm available to discuss your unique situation and explore your available legal options. As your legal counsel, I will help you decide the right advance healthcare directive plan that best suits your unique needs and guide you through the entire legal process from start to finish.
The Law Offices of Kenneth W. Drake, Inc. proudly serves clients in Woodland Hills, California, and throughout the San Fernando Valley, including Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.
An advance healthcare directive can be described as a legal document that allows you (the principal) to make decisions regarding your preferred healthcare treatments and medical procedures in advance in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions by yourself.
Also, the advance healthcare directive allows the principal to choose a healthcare representative or proxy who can make such healthcare decisions on your behalf. In the State of California, you must sign your advance healthcare directive in the presence of two witnesses or a notary for the document to be legal and valid.
The following decisions may be covered by an advance healthcare directive:
Describe the type of healthcare treatments and procedures you want or do not want
Choose the medical facility, hospital, or clinic where you want to receive medical care
State your preferences, values, and goals about medical treatments
Choose a reliable person to act as your agent or healthcare representative
Give instructions about medical treatments and healthcare procedures, including artificial nutrition, dialysis, hydration, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Decide if your eyes, organs, tissues, and brain should be donated
Outline your funeral and burial arrangements
An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the decisions covered by an advance healthcare directive and guide you through the process of choosing your healthcare representative.
The healthcare representative (or proxy/agent) is the person appointed by the principal to act on their behalf in healthcare matters in the event that they become seriously ill, disabled, incapacitated, or unable to communicate their healthcare wishes.
You can appoint a trusted person, such as a family member, close relative, or friend, as your healthcare representative. It is usually advisable that you notify the person of their responsibilities and let them know your desired healthcare treatments and medical preferences.
In addition, you can name an alternate healthcare representative in your advance healthcare directive. If your first choice agent is unable, unavailable, or otherwise unwilling to act, the alternate healthcare representative can simply step in and make such decisions.
Once appointed, your healthcare representative will have the following duties and responsibilities:
Discuss with you your exact wishes or preferences long before you become severely ill or incapacitated
Discuss your possible medical treatment options and preferences
Make healthcare decisions on your behalf based on your best interests and preferences
Consult with the medical experts and physicians
Approve or refuse medical treatments, tests, or examinations
Review your medical chart
Request appointments and second opinions
Make life-support decisions on your behalf
Authorize that you should be transferred to another healthcare facility or medical institution, if necessary
A knowledgeable attorney can educate you about the responsibilities of your agent and discuss some other documents and orders that may be part of your advanced healthcare directive.
A DNR directive is an order that you provide to your physician instructing them not to administer any lifesaving measures such as CPR. This additional directive will outline instructions regarding when you do – and do not – wish to be revived.
A POLST form is a document that is often used to provide physicians with in-depth instructions about your healthcare preferences, including wishes concerning medication, ratification nutrition, intubation, and other life-sustaining treatment procedures.
Above all, including a DNR directive and POLST form as part of your advanced healthcare directive can relieve physicians and caregivers of the decision-making burdens during such a difficult situation. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate key decisions and ensure that your advanced healthcare directive is valid, detailed, and updated.
An advance healthcare directive is not set in stone and can always be modified or revoked to ensure that it is in line with your current wishes. To make changes, you may complete written statements that express the changes you want to implement. Also, you may need to complete a new Registration of Written Advance Healthcare Directive form.
The new advance healthcare directives must be signed and dated in the presence of adult witnesses and a medical provider. Ensure that you inform your proxy, doctor, family members, and the nursing home where you receive care of the new changes.
Advance healthcare directives aren't only for senior citizens. Regardless of your age, an unexpected end-of-life situation can leave you suddenly incapacitated and unable to communicate your exact wishes regarding your medical preferences. Fortunately, by planning ahead, you can get your preferred medical treatments and avoid unnecessary suffering. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can evaluate your unique needs and help you make intelligent decisions.
At The Law Offices of Kenneth W. Drake, Inc., I have the experience and diligence to assist and guide clients through the complexities involved in creating strategic end-of-life healthcare plans. As your attorney, I can review your unique circumstances, enlighten you about your available options, and recommend a personalized plan for your end-of-life care. Using my in-depth legal understanding, I will help prepare the necessary documentation, guide you through the advanced healthcare directive process, and help you navigate crucial decisions in your estate planning.
If you or your loved ones need help drafting advanced healthcare directives, contact my firm – The Law Offices of Kenneth W. Drake, Inc. – today to schedule a simple consultation. I can offer you the experienced legal counsel and brilliant advocacy you need. My firm proudly serves clients in Woodland Hills, California, and throughout the San Fernando Valley, including Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.