1) An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) allows those you name to make health care decisions for you in the event you cannot.
2) Everyone 18 years of age or older should have a good Advance Health Care Directive.
3) Being someone's parent or spouse does not give you the legal authority over their medical decisions. Many people assume that is the case.
4) An AHCD is not just about who gets to "pull the plug." It's about being an ADVOCATE for someone. Of course "end of life" decisions are involved at some point, but there is so much more to serving as the agent.
5) A good AHCD should have at least one or two back up agents in case your chosen agent is unable to serve. Also, just because you name someone doesn't mean they have to serve. They are not compelled to serve and they can resign.
6) Make sure your AHCD is clear about your care. If something is important to you, make sure your directive addresses it.
7) In addition to a good AHCD, make sure you have a proper release for your medical records. Making medical decisions is one thing, but you also need the proper authority for medical records to be released to your named agents.
8) Make sure your health care directive is updated every few years. Some places might give you are hard time if your AHCD is more than 10 years old. The document may be perfectly legal, but some places like to see more recent documents.
If you need help with your estate plan, call our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can assist you. Thank you very much.