Why it is important to have an advanced health care directive

When people in California think about estate planning, they may think about wills. These are very important documents for people to have as they plan for their passing. Wills state who will receive their property after they pass away, and this is often the main focus for people as they go through the estate planning process. However, these are not the only important documents people should prepare.

Some other important aspects of an estate plan are used while people are still living. One of these documents is an advanced healthcare directive. These documents are used if people are incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for themselves. Life is unpredictable and unfortunately people can find themselves in this position at any point in time. It is important for people to have a plan in place to determine who will make medical decisions for them when they are unable to do so themselves.

Elements of an advanced healthcare directive

The first part of healthcare directives name the person or people who will have the authority to make the decisions and the authority that those people have regarding specific medical decisions. The second part of the healthcare directive states people’s wishes for their care if they are incapacitated. These are typically decisions about when they would like life prolonging care to cease and other wishes. People can also state their wishes for donating organs through a healthcare directive as well.

While much of estate planning involves planning for what will happen after we are gone, it is also important for people to plan for situations where they may be still living but are incapacitated. Advanced healthcare directives are one of those documents. People want to make sure the proper decisions are being made and having a trusted family member or friend making those decisions is important. Experienced attorneys understand how to ensure these documents are drafted properly and may be a helpful resource.