Health Directives

In California, an individual can use advance health care directives to control many types of health care decisions. The health directive is important since it communicates your specific wishes to family and physicians on what actions to take in the event you become ill, comatose or unable to make decisions yourself. This eliminates the stress for family members who might otherwise need to make critical choices on your behalf, and it allows physicians to legally give or withhold life sustaining treatment in certain circumstances.


What Is A Health Care Directive?

The advance health care directive is the California equivalent of a "living will and durable power of attorney" and can cover a number of situations including:

  • Types of special treatment you want or refuse at the end of life, such as receiving certain kinds of nutrition, medicine or other life sustaining measures
  • Your desire for surgical treatment and diagnostic testing
  • A directive for use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, especially for hospice patients
  • Specific instructions for organ donation

The health directive is best drafted by an attorney who knows the laws that control health directives, since the language and terminology used must meet legal and statutory standards. There are forms available for simple directives, but more complex situations will require drafting the directives that you need.

What Are The Requirements For A Health Directive?

Your attorney can provide you with the requirements for most common health directives, and in general it should include the following:

  • Appointment of an agent to make health care decisions according to your instructions
  • Must be in writing, signed, dated and witnessed by two people over 18 years of age

  • Contains specific instructions on how you wish to receive life sustaining treatment, such as CPR, breathing or feeding tubes, pain medications or other types of care
  • Identifies the primary care physician, if you have one

Once complete, the health directive should be kept in a place that is easily available to the health agent and other family members, as well as medical personnel. Your attorney will also have a copy in case other copies are lost or destroyed.

Lawyers Looking Out For Your Needs

The estate planning attorneys at Farhat Law Firm, in Corona, can consult with you on the value of an advance health care directive as part of your estate plan. This simple step can avoid the needless suffering and expense to maintain life sustaining measures beyond a reasonable time. Please contact us for a consultation at 800-391-9168, and we will give you the facts that you need about health directives for you or your loved ones.