I have often been asked why a healthy person would need an Advanced Healthcare Directive or aDurable Powers of Attorney. It is sometimes hard for people to face the possibility of incapacity and being unable to care for themselves. However, the unexpected does happen, whether old or young. Just like emergency preparedness, a predetermined plan can save you time, money, heartache, and even your life.

A basic plan consists of two primary instruments. An Advanced Healthcare Directive provides instructions to those who will take care of you if you become unable to do so, and Durable Powers of Attorney appoints another person to make health, personal, and financial decisions for you. Creating these with an attorney can be accomplished for a reasonable cost relative to other methods. While separate instruments, they may be designed to work together, and are most effective when crafted at the same time and by the same attorney.

A helpful attorney will assist in your self-reflection on these matters, and consult with family and friends if necessary. They should be knowledgeable about applicable California law, and should provide specific insight and guidance in these areas. A helpful attorney will also strive to understand the unique circumstances of each person, and address those as appropriate. Ultimately, an attorney will create formal and binding instruments that reflect your wishes regarding your healthcare and legal matters. These documents should be kept in a safe place, and they should be updated to reflect changes in life or law.

Ultimately, these instruments will provide clarity during difficult times for you and your loved ones. Their necessity is often unintentionally overlooked by people in our increasingly complex society. Everyone of legal age can benefit from them. A thoughtful Advanced Healthcare Directive and Durable Powers of Attorney work together to provide a plan for your healthcare and personal considerations should you become incapacitated.


– Gregory J. Chilina, Attorney at Law