Especially if you are young and in good health, it can be difficult to imagine a time when incapacity might prevent you from caring or speaking for yourself. However, age, serious illness or injury, or other such factors, may at some point leave you unable to make decisions about your health care or specify your wishes to your physicians. At The Law Offices of William S. Dunlevy, we have helped people throughout California understand their estate planning options and aided them in preparing for the unexpected and the inevitable challenges of life and aging.
Provided you are at least 18 years old and of sound mind, the state of California permits you to fill out the advance health care directive form. This document allows you to name an adult family member or friend to act as your personal representative. Should you be unable to speak for yourself, this person is charged with making health care treatment-related decisions on your behalf. You can also indicate on this form your preferences regarding when you would and would not want certain life-saving treatments. You may also specify other types of treatment that you would or would not want to receive if you are unable to specify those matters for yourself due to your medical condition.
A second important health care document is the HIPAA Release. “HIPAA” refers to the federal medical privacy law and you should also have a HIPAA Release to authorize your health care agent(s) to confer with your doctors and review your medical records.
Incapacity and end-of-life planning can be difficult but having tools in place ahead of time can give you peace of mind that, should the worse come to pass, your wishes will be carried out. More information about this topic is available on our web page.