Are you prepared if you or a loved one becomes incapacitated and are unable to make medical decisions? An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) outlines personal health care wishes and instructions that could save loved ones the stress of making these tough decisions.
Sacramento Estate Planning Lawyers, Michael Abrate and Daniel Olsen, take the time to help you understand the necessary steps to create an Advance Healthcare Directive in California.
Step 1: Find an AHCD form
There are two types of Advance Health Care directives, a Living Will and a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney. The State of California combined the two types into one an advance health care directive, and it is vital to make sure you have the correct document before you begin filling it out.
Each state has different AHCD forms that are designed to be completed by individuals. In California, the person filling out the form must be at least 18 years of age. You can find the California AHCD form through our law office or online here.
However, many individuals seek legal guidance to ensure their advance directive form is valid. Abrate & Olsen Law Group is happy to help create or review your legal documents.
Step 2: Choose your agent
Choosing your Agent is just as important as outlining your wishes and instructions under an AHCD. Your agent is the person responsible for making sure your wishes are followed in the event that you are unable to make your own medical decisions.
You can choose anyone you trust over the age of 18. Take your time when deciding on your agent, and be sure they are someone who will be up to the task of carrying out your wishes.
Also, you are allowed to have more than one agent under an AHCD, but we recommend only choosing one agent to prevent disagreements.
Step 3: Have a conversation
Before filling out an AHCD Abrate & Olsen suggests notifying your health care provider and loved ones. Having these important conversations is one of the essential parts of completing this form.
Your health care provider can provide additional information before you begin filling out your form and advise as to whether your wishes are medically appropriate. Having a conversation with your loved ones gives all of you the opportunity to discuss your medical wishes in advance, so that the contents of your AHCD are known well before the document is called upon.
Step 4: Fill out the AHCD form and sign it
Once the form is filled out, be sure the document has signatures from you and two witnesses or a notary public for it to be considered valid. You should also give copies of the document to your loved ones, doctor, and importantly, your AHCD agent.
“Mike has been nothing but helpful during the process of creating an advance directive for myself. He was extremely informative and transparent. If you ever need help with anything law-related, especially estate planning, Mike is your guy! His firm’s customer service was outstanding.”
~ Aaron L. – Elk Grove, CA
Can I modify an Advance Healthcare Directive?
Yes. An AHCD does not expire and remains in effect unless changed or revoked. You can either modify the current advance directive or revoke it and create a new one to incorporate your desired changes. As long as you are competent, you can change wishes or instructions on your advance directive at any time.
If you are wishing to change your AHCD Abrate & Olsen Law Group suggests revoking the previous directive and creating a new AHCD. Doing this prevents confusion that may arise from too many modifications. You should review your advance directive often to make sure your wishes are up to date.
Experienced Legal Professionals
Scheduling a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys is the best way to understand what is needed to create an advance health care directive for you or a loved one. To get started, contact our office today for a consultation.