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Advanced Healthcare Directive

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 13:19

    Having an Advanced Healthcare Directive (“AHCD”) is not only recommended for elder adults and those facing physical challenges, but for everyone, young or old, healthy or sick.  An AHCD allows you to direct an agent as to precisely what  medical treatment–or lack of treatment-- should be taken if you were to become incapacitated and unable to make the decisions for yourself.  Not only can you appoint the agent (attorney-in-fact) you trust to enforce the guidelines you set forth in your AHDC, it also allows you to instruct specific healthcare treatments, organ donations and even funeral arrangements.  Tragedy, sickness and disease has no age limit and preparing in advance is cost effective, can save a lot of headache, confusion and even disagreements that can arise between family members during such a stressful time–even families that never have strife.


    You have the right to control your healthcare treatment when you cannot make your wishes known, by writing them down in the form of an AHCD and apponting someone you trust to carry them out in the event you cannot do so.  This gives your loved ones the security that they are carrying out your wishes, rather then leaving them wondering what to do in such a difficult situation.   The following is a site published by California which contains a sample of an AHCD you can use:  


     When selecting your agent, choose someone responsible, and one who clearly understands your healthcare wishes, and one who will follow them even if they do not personally agree with them. You can also select an alternate agent in case the primary agent is unable to take on the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf.  The appointed agent can be a spouse, relative, or a close friend.  The agent should be assertive and able to communicate with health care providers and family to ensure that your wishes are carried out.  Additionally, the agent should clearly understand your desires in case an unanticipated event were to occur. You may want to discuss certain scenarios with the agent to ensure that they will be okay with taking the responsibility of making such critical decisions on your behalf.

    You also must determine the specific healthcare instructions that should be in your Advanced Healthcare Directive. You may want to consider your values and different possible situations that may arise. You can specifically request for the health care providers to provide, withhold, or even withdraw treatments to prolong or not to prolong your life. Would you chose life extending treatment? Or would you still want life extending treatment if the outcome were to outweigh the expected benefits?  How do you feel about resuscitation, mechanical ventilation or artificial nutrition or hydration? There is plenty to consider when it comes to instructing specific end- of- life decisions. Visit
 http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/adv_hc_dir  which provides  information to consider for your advanced healthcare directive.  Additionally, an Advancec Healthcare Directive allows you to address specific wishes concerning organ donations, disposition of remains and funeral arrangements.  Deciding on end of life decisions can be a sensitive subject but investing ahead is of ultimate benefit to you and your family.

    Not having an Advanced Healthcare Directive can very quickly become overwhelmingly stressful.  Disadvantages of not having an Advanced Healthcare Directive can result in the court having to appoint a conservator. This court process can lead to high court costs and attorney fees and is very time consuming and can be very divisive for families as the pressure of family members having to make time sensitive crucial decisions on your behalf which can cause arguments and disagreements as invariably family members have different opinions and it is a very emotionally charged time, often causing tempers to flare.

     If you are not comfortable with doing your own AHCD, or would like more detail than is provided in the generic California form, my office would love to prepare one for you.  The Law Offices of Gloria D. Cordova, Inc., can get you started with your Estate Planning needs. Call us today to hear about an awesome Estate Planning package that we can get started immediately. Call in today to set up a consultation at 909.612.5787. You can also follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gcordovalaw?ref=hl.

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732 N. Diamond Bar Blvd., Ste. 210
Diamond Bar, CA 91765