Advance Directives Attorney in Rocklin, California
If you’ve started to think about estate planning, you may be confused by the choices in front of you. Should you use a standard will? A trust? Beneficiary designation? It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed, but an experienced estate planning attorney can make sure you understand what goes into a good plan and what documents will best serve your needs.
One of the most crucial pieces to any comprehensive estate plan is an advance directive. At the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong, you’ll receive the expert estate planning advice you need to create a legally-binding advance directive. If you're in the Rocklin, California, area including Roseville, Folsom, and Citrus Heights, call today to set up a consultation.
What Is an Advance Directive (Living Will)?
Also called a living will in California, an advance directive outlines a person’s wishes for their medical care should they become incapacitated or no longer able to communicate. An advance directive can lay out preferences and decisions regarding medical treatment options a person does and does not want given different circumstances. This could include life support, pain management, organ donation, use of dialysis, use of CPR, tube feeding, and so on.
The advance directive must be signed and witnessed. When the document may be needed due to sudden incapacitation, two physicians must confirm that you’re no longer able to make your own decisions before it can be implemented.
One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when writing out your advance directive is who you’ll appoint as your healthcare representative. This person (sometimes called the healthcare attorney in fact or healthcare proxy) is chosen to ensure your wishes are carried out. They will also be able to make any decisions on your behalf that are not spelled out in your advance directive.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive
While you don’t need a living will to have a do not resuscitate (DNR) order or a do not intubate (DNI) order, these can and should be included in your advance directive. You can also communicate your decision about resuscitation and intubation with your doctor ahead of time if you know you face a life-threatening condition. However, if you’re in an accident or have an unforeseen medical emergency, you may not be able to do this so it’s best to think about it ahead of time and have it written into your advance directive.
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
A physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) can be included in an advance directive for those who have already been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition or serious illness. This document allows your doctor to work with you to write out directions for the kind of care you wish to receive in an emergency. This can include how long to sustain specific treatments, what treatments should not be used, and in what circumstances other treatments should be administered.
You can and should modify your living will when your circumstances change. However, this must be done in accordance with all state laws to ensure it remains enforceable. In California, you must complete a new directive (and have it signed and witnessed) and destroy all the old copies. You should also communicate your new wishes with your family and medical providers. Modifications may be necessary if you receive a new diagnosis, if you marry or remarry, or as you age.
Advance Directives Attorney Serving Rocklin, California
Because advance directives are such a critical part of your estate plan, you should work with a qualified attorney to ensure it’s enforceable when the time comes. By working with the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong, you can be assured your estate plan is complete and binding. Those in the Rocklin, California, area should call today to make an appointment.