It’s 2020, and since we don’t have a crystal ball to give us 20/20 vision into the future, an important step in protecting yourself and the ones you LOVE is to complete the proper legal documents now for life-changing events like illness, accident, or age-related issues that may happen in the future. One such document is an Advance Health Care Directive.
An Advance Health Care Directive allows you to document your healthcare wishes in writing and name a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot make those decisions for yourself. Without this, these important decisions can be placed in the hands of family members, doctors and sometimes even judges, any of whom may know little about what you would prefer be done under specific health conditions. Family members may possibly have to go through the court to get approval for what they think should be done, and not all family members will have the same opinion. One never knows how people will react in certain situations until they’re actually in them.
To realize what a LOVING act it is to have an Advance Health Care Directive, try to imagine the range of emotions you would feel if you were attempting to make significant life decisions with permanent consequences for someone you love, not knowing what they would want under those circumstances. Imagine how much more complicated it would be if others around you had conflicting opinions, not to mention no clear legal request for a particular individual to call the shots. This scenario can make for tenuous relationships between family, friends, and healthcare providers. Now imagine the ideal: loved ones fully informed of your wishes, an individual designated to make decisions based on your detailed written instructions, and healthcare providers informed of the document so that they are able to take instruction from the person you designated. Putting your wishes in writing in an Advance Health Care Directive, and providing this information to your doctors and loved ones, can significantly reduce stress and strife among family and friends should such a difficult situation arise.
Here are some helpful links to this form, information about completing it, and other useful materials, including how Advance Health Care Directives can be filed with the CA Secretary of State if a person so chooses.
CA Attorney General sample Advance Healthcare Directive Form
Have a HEART and make sure both you and your loved ones have an Advance Health Care Directive.