Estate planning means thinking about what happens if you’re incapacitated and who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes in possible healthcare emergencies. While these are difficult topics to think about, they are also important.
Both a California living will and a healthcare power of attorney can help to guide advanced care planning for everyone. Many people recognize the importance of following a health care power of attorney, but it can be very difficult to enact the power of attorney or to locate the right document in urgent situations.
It is very important that family members be involved in the process of following a health care power of attorney. Ethical decisions may arise and the creation of a power of attorney document can help inform loved ones and physicians about preferred care.
A durable power of attorney typically accompanies a health care power of attorney and protects the power of attorney if the creator loses their ability to make their own decisions. Distinct from a health care power of attorney, a living will refers to a document that specifies certain desires made by the person signing but does not give anyone else the power to make medical decisions.
Everyone should designate a power of attorney, but according to research, only between 18% and 36% of American adults have taken this process seriously. If you are curious in discussing what should be included in your health care power of attorney document, you can discuss this with friends, family members, your estate planning lawyer and even your doctors. Important medical decisions documented in these powers of attorney may become critical down the road.
A Pasadena area estate planning lawyer is here to guide you through these questions and documents.