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Advanced health care directive

California Probate Code Section

You have the right to give instructions about your own health care. You also have the right to name someone else to make health care decisions for you. 

An advance health care directive is a precautionary document that is created in the event that you become unable to make your own healthcare decisions. This occurs when you become ill or incapacitated and can no longer make these decisions for yourself. Although this situation is never an easy one to think about, it is always better to play it safe. To get started, you would need to fill out the advance health care directive form. This is a written set of instructions that include your specific requests in terms of your health care. An AK estate planning attorney would be able to help get you started.

The form includes various parts in which you are allowed to be as specific as possible.

part 1

Part 1 of your Health Care Directive is a power of attorney for health care. This part lets you name another individual as agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incapable of making your own decisions or if you want someone else to make those decisions for you now even though you are still capable. You may also name an alternate agent to act for you if your first choice is not willing, able, or reasonably available to make decisions for you. (Your agent may not be an operator or employee of a community care facility or a residential care facility where you are receiving care, or your supervising health care provider or employee of the health care institution where you are receiving care, unless your agent is related to you or is a coworker.)

Unless the form you sign limits the authority of your agent, your agent may make all health care decisions for you. This form has a place for you to limit the authority of your agent. You need not limit the authority of your agent if you wish to rely on your agent for all health care decisions that may have to be made. If you choose not to limit the authority of your agent, your agent will have the right to:

(a) Consent or refuse consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition.

(b) Select or discharge health care providers and institutions.

(c) Approve or disapprove diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and programs of medication.

(d) Direct the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration and all other forms of health care, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

(e) Donate your organs, tissues, and parts, authorize an autopsy, and direct disposition of remains.

Part 2

Part 2 of your Health Care Directive lets you give specific instructions about any aspect of your health care, whether or not you appoint an agent. Choices are provided for you to express your wishes regarding the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of treatment to keep you alive, as well as the provision of pain relief. Space is also provided for you to add to the choices you have made or for you to write out any additional wishes. If you are satisfied to allow your agent to determine what is best for you in making end-of-life decisions, you need not fill out Part 2 of this form.

Part 3

Part 3 of your Health Care Directive lets you express an intention to donate your bodily organs, tissues, and parts following your death.

Part 4

Part 4 of your Health Care Directive lets you designate a physician to have primary responsibility for your health care.

Once your Health Care Directive is completed, it must be signed in front of two witnesses. Without these witnesses present, a notary public must be present. Give a copy of the signed and completed form to your physician, to any other health care providers you may have, to any health care institution at which you are receiving care, and to any health care agents you have named. You should talk to the person you have named as agent to make sure that he or she understands your wishes and is willing to take the responsibility.

You have the right to revoke this advance health care directive or replace this form at any time.

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