I have often been asked why a healthy person would need a health care directive or a durable power of attorney. It is hard for us to face the possibility of incapacity and being unable to care for ourselves. However, the unexpected does happen, whether old or young. Just as with emergency preparedness, planning for incapacity can save you time, money, heartache, and even your life. In the event of incapacity, having a predetermined set of healthcare instructions for those who will take care of you (Advanced Healthcare Directive), or appointing another person to make health, personal, and financial decisions for you (Durable Powers of Attorney) can go a long way toward ensuring peace of mind for you as well as your loved ones.

Although there are other estate planning devices or instruments that can handle incapacity, creating an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Durable Powers of Attorney is a way, at a reasonable cost, to accomplish these goals.  In essence, together as two separate devices or instruments, an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Durable Powers of Attorney will ensure that your wishes are met regarding health and personal care and financial decisions should you become incapacitated. 

Legally speaking, the Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Durable Powers of Attorney should be created as separate devices or instruments.  However, creating two devices or instruments that contradict each other can be disastrous.  To be the most effective and to ensure that there are no contradictions between the two devices or instruments, they should be drafted at the same time and by the same attorney.

Ultimately, the creation of an Advanced Healthcare Directive and Durable Powers of Attorney directing your health and personal care and financial matters during incapacity is something which should not be taken lightly and it is best to seek the counsel of an attorney. An attorney will not only guide you regarding California law but will also assist in your self-reflection on these matters, consultation with family and friends if necessary, and in the final formalization of an Advanced Healthcare Directive and Durable Powers of Attorney that reflect your wishes.

With the high cost of living along with the complex rules and laws regarding healthcare, every person living in the State of California who is of legal age should have an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Durable Powers of Attorney. These documents should be kept in a safe place and updated from time to time with life changes to ensure that your wishes regarding your health, personal, and financial care are met if the unexpected does happen and you and your loved ones are faced with your incapacity.  Anyone considering an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Durable Powers of Attorney should contact the Chilina Law Firm or another law firm focusing on California estate planning law for legal advice.

Chilina Law Firm, a Professional Corporation, is a full-service estate planning, probate, trust administration, business law, and real property law firm that provides a wide-range of advising, transactional, and litigation services to its clients from its office located in Atascadero, California. The firm’s attorneys represent individuals and business entities in an assortment of transactional and litigation matters involving estate planning (including trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives), probate, trust administration, as well as general business law, contracts, corporate governance, land use, and real property. Chilina Law can be contacted by telephone at (805) 538-5038 or by email at info@chilinalaw.comor visit the Chilina Law Firm at www.chilinalaw.com. Chilina Law Firm is based in Atascadero, California and serves North San Luis Obispo County communities, including Santa Margarita, Atascadero, Templeton, Paso Robles, and San Miguel.

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