California Living Wills Lawyer
There’s a lot you can include in an advance health care directive, so medical decisions can be made on your behalf if you are unable to make them or communicate them. Sometimes these directives are very broad and give another person the general power to make all kinds of medical decisions for you, like having power of attorney over your healthcare. You can also be very specific about what you want or don’t want when it comes to your health. This is the idea behind a living will. An advance health care directive tells your agent how to act. A living will tells the doctor directly. Living wills are an important part of your California estate plan. Call NOW for a FREE consultation!
What Do Living Wills Do?
Living wills typically deal with end-of-life decisions. If you are severely injured or terminally ill, a living will tells doctors and hospitals whether to provide, withhold or withdraw treatment. Depending on your situation, you could want the medical professionals to do everything in their power to prolong your life. At other times, you might not wish to have your life artificially sustained if there is no hope for recovery.
For example, you might not want doctors to prolong your life when:
- You have an incurable disease or irreversible condition that will soon result in death
- You are unconscious and unlikely to regain consciousness
- The likely risks and burdens of treatment would outweigh any expected benefits
In other words, you might not want doctors to prolong your life when you won’t get better. However, not everyone feels that way. Some people would want the medical community to do what it takes to prolong their life as long as possible, within the limits of generally accepted (and ethical) health standards. A living will lets you make your wishes known to the people in charge of making these decisions for you when you cannot.
Living Wills and Pain Relief
Pain relief is another you can address in a living will. If you want to have treatment aimed at reducing pain and discomfort (sometimes called palliative care) rather than actually curing you, you can request this treatment be given, even if it would bring about your death faster than if you continued to fight the illness. You can also list specific exceptions for when you would or would not want palliative care.
Living Wills and Organ Donation
In a living will, you can also make it known if you want to donate your organs. You can become an organ donor generally or name specific organs, tissues or parts you want to donate. You can also restrict the purpose or purposes you are willing to have your organs donated. For instance, you might want to donate your organs for transplant or therapy, but not for research or education. Different people have different feelings about this sensitive topic, which is why it’s a good idea to think about it while you are healthy and put your wishes down in writing.
Some forms must be signed by you as well as a physician to be effective in California. These include a Prehospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and a Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). A DNR lets emergency medical services and others know not to perform CPR, use a ventilator, intubate you or use other techniques to bring you back if your heart stops. The POLST indicates the type of medical treatment you wish to receive at the end of life. These orders are usually kept near your chart when you are in the hospital.
The Time to Act on Your Living Will is Now
It may seem grisly or feel uncomfortable to think about these issues and make these decisions, but somebody might have to make these decisions at some point. Without a living will, you leave these tough choices in the hands of an anguished spouse or adult child, who might not make the decisions you would want them to make. Take the time now when you are creating or updating your estate plan to make sure you have these issues covered, and you and your family will have more peace of mind once your living will and other documents are in place.
Let The Probate Guy Guide You Through Your Living Will
For advice on creating or changing a living will and other estate planning documents, call me at 714-522-8880. Your consultation is free, and I can also advance all costs of probate and collect my fee at the end. I handle all court appearances on your behalf, so you never have to go to court. I can also conduct all my communications with you over the phone, mail and e-mail, so you never have to come to my office. I serve clients throughout Southern California, including but not limited to Anaheim, Buena Park, Cerritos, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Gardena, La Mirada and Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. CALL NOW to get started today with a FREE consultation!