Powers of Attorney/Advanced Health Care Directives Durable Power of Attorney For Financial Management Advanced Health Care Directive

Advanced Health Care Directive

Definition of an Advanced Health Care Directive

An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document that authorizes an Agent to make health care decisions for the Principal, the one who creates the document.

The Advanced Health Care Directive takes effect only when the Principal can no longer make decisions for herself.

As long as the Principal can give informed consent to a particular medical or health care decision, the Agent has no authority.

Every Adult Should Execute an Advance Health Care Directive

Health care planning is not only for the elderly.

If a person, 18 years of age or older, becomes incapacitated without a properly executed Advanced Health Care Directive, loved ones may have to petition the court for a conservatorship to obtain authority to make critical health care decisions.

Advantages of an Advance Health Care Directive

The Agent's Limitations

The Agent does not have authority to make health or medical decisions for a Principal who can give informed consent for herself.

Agent's Authority

The Agent has a duty:

Regarding health care for the Principal, the Agent can:

If the Principal grants the Agent full powers, upon the Principal's incapacity, the Agent steps into the Principal's shoes to authorize any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat the Principal's physical or mental condition - including postmortem decisions.

The Agent has the right to receive information about the Principal's medical conditions from physicians, therapists, dentists, and other treating health care providers.

The Agent is authorized to review the Principal's medical records and consent to their disclosure.

Characteristics of a Good Agent

Selecting an Agent under the Advanced Health Care Directive is the most important decision the Principal will make.

The Agent must have:

Usual Choices For An Agent

Other Considerations In Choosing An Agent

Postmortem Authority

In the Advanced Health Care Directive, the Principal can grant broad powers to the Agent to be used after the Principal's death.

Postmortem Powers That May Be Conferred:

Sate Registry

The Secretary of State of California has established a central information center where anyone who ahs executed an Advance Health Care Directive may register information about the document