Estate planning can involve many different matters of concern. While many assume that it consists solely of writing a last will and testament, there are other documents legal under California law. One such document is an advance directive. An advance directive does not deal with financial matters, as it centers on health care decisions.
An incapacitated person’s directives
When writing a last will and testament or devising a trust, people think about their mortality and the effect their death could have on their beneficiaries. While such planning has potential value, it could be incomplete. For example, there may be instances where someone becomes incapacitated and is unable to convey their wishes regarding medical treatment and health care. An advance directive could prove valuable in this situation.
One type of advance directive tells healthcare providers what type of treatment is requested when unable to convey wishes personally. Another type of directive works like a power of attorney. The document names someone as an agent who would make health care decisions on behalf of the grantor.
Concerns about health care directives
Several concerns about an advanced directive may arise during the estate planning process. For one, choosing the appropriate agent to handle health care decisions may require careful thought. Selecting a responsible person may require much consideration. Setting up a meeting with the person who will serve as the proxy seems advisable. This way, the individual may understand the wishes more clearly.
Like other estate planning documents, an advanced directive must be legal under California law. Those attempting to draw up do-it-yourself documents could make mistakes that create problems when executing the directive. Proper planning might avoid such a situation.