Most people in California understand the importance of having a will. What they may not realize is that they should also have legal documentation that covers certain medical matters while they are still alive. A living will and a durable power of attorney for health care are important parts of estate planning that can help people ensure that their wishes for medical care are honored if they are not able to make those choices for themselves.
Why a living will and power of attorney matter
Both a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care serve as a person’s voice in medical decisions if they are unable to make their own choices. This can happen in cases where a person is incapacitated or in an emergency medical situation. They may even include a Do Not Resuscitate Order that states a person does not want to be resuscitated. Together, they are often known as an advance health care directive.
A living will is a document that states exact medical directives that a person wants to follow. It could include what types of medical treatments a person does or does not want and what quality of life the person wishes to have, for example, whether the person wants to be kept on life support. A durable power of attorney for health care is a person specifically designated to make medical decisions on behalf of someone else. It is often a spouse or family member, but could be anyone legally designated by the person.
An attorney can help with an advance health care directive
An advance health care directive is only one part of estate planning, but it is an important one. Those who wish to add a living will and durable power of attorney for health care to their estate plan may want to discuss their options with an attorney here in California who has extensive experience in creating and modifying estate plans. A comprehensive estate plan can give peace of mind that one’s wishes for the future will be carried out.