Every individual has a constitutional right to control his or her own medical treatment. Medical care planning ensures that your rights, dignity, and wishes will be protected if you ever become incapable of making or communicating decisions regarding your medical treatment.
What happens if I do nothing? If you don’t make advance decisions regarding your medical care, a judge would appoint another adult to make these decisions for you. The court proceedings are usually costly, time consuming, and publicize your medical matters, which most of us would like to keep private.
If you suffer a medical emergency and you haven’t prepared documents covering your medical care, your care will be determined based on the hospital protocol or a doctor’s decision. Clearly, you may get medical care that is very different from what you would have wanted.
How do I plan for my medical care? You can plan for the medical care by using medical directives. These documents allow you to provide binding instructions concerning the medical treatment and use of life sustaining medical technology. You can also appoint someone to enforce your wishes and make other medical decisions that you cannot make yourself.
What medical care documents do I need? To plan for your medical care in California, you would generally use a legal document called Advanced Health Care Directive. This document contains a health care declaration and a durable power of attorney for health care.
A health care declaration is a statement made directly to the medical personnel that spells out the medical treatments that you want or do not want to receive if you become incapacitated. The doctors must either honor your wishes or transfer you to another facility that will honor them.
The second part of the Advanced Health Care Directive is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Here, you give another person a permission to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
When does the Advanced Health Care Directive take effect? Your health care directive take effect when you no longer have the ability or capacity to make your own medical treatment decisions.
Can I make changes to my Advanced Health Care Directive? Absolutely. You can change any type of medical care document as long as you are of sound mind. However, if you want to change the terms or your attorney-in-fact, you must prepare a new Advanced Health Care Directive. In addition, you should make sure that all of the copies of the earlier document are destroyed.
Contact San Diego Tax Law Group today for all of your medical care planning needs.