California’s Health Care Decisions Act makes an advanced healthcare directive (AHCD) an important part of your estate planning in California. What are some of the things you need to know about this act? What does it allow you to do? Why do you want the document to be legally executed? Here is what you need to know.
- Your Current Directive May Not Be Valid – If you have had an AHCD for a long time, you will want to check and make sure that it meets the current state guidelines. During a medical emergency is not when you want to find out that your AHCD hasn’t been valid for years.
- Appointing a Health Care Agent – This document allows you to appoint a health care agent who can make decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It also allows you to prepare instructions for your healthcare in advance, including end of life decisions.
- Your Decisions Can’t Be Altered by Someone Else – Neither your health care agent nor your doctor can override the explicit instructions you provide in your advance healthcare This allows you to take control of your healthcare choices.
- You Have to Mentally Competent – Now is the time to execute this document. You must be an adult (over 18) and mentally competent at the time the document is executed in order for it to be legally binding.
- You Can Make Changes at Any Time – All you have to do is provide your doctor with a written document that revokes your AHCD, and it becomes invalid. You can also issue a new document to replace your old one any time your wishes changes as long as you are still mentally competent at the time.
Help in Protecting Your Right to Make and Enforce Healthcare Choices
At Petrov Law Firm, we take seriously each individual’s right to make his or her own medical decisions. Including an AHCD as a part of your estate planning is a vital part of making these decisions in advance in the state of California. To learn more, contact our team today by calling 619-344-0360.Read More
Advanced medical directives help maintain a person’s right to self-determine and to make medical decisions in advance while in the proper frame of mind so that health decisions can be carried out in accordance with his or her wishes if unconscious or no longer in a proper state of mind to make such decisions. One type of medical directive is a psychiatric care directive.Who can benefit most from this type of legal document?
Who Benefits from a Psychiatric Care Directive?
First of all, it is important to note that one does not to be suffering from any form of mental illness to have this type of directive. The document is in place to determine a person’s desires should he or she ever suffer from a mental disorder in the future. It can outline things such as desired forms of treatment as well as name persons who can make healthcare decisions on his or her behalf should the need arise.
If an individual suffers from a mental disorder, it is important for the person to be in the right frame of mind when the document is executed in order for it to be legal. If a person is deemed mentally incapacitated at the time the document is executed, it may be considered void.
Legal Advice Regarding Advanced Medical Directives
If you intend to execute any type of advanced medical directive, the estate planning attorneys at the Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help. This will ensure that the documents are executed properly, and your wishes will be upheld during a medical emergency whether psychiatric or otherwise.
When someone has a will only and does not make use of a trust, the majority of the person’s assets will end up going through probate after his death. However, California law protects certain assets from going through probate. That means these assets will automatically pass to certain individuals. Which assets fall into this category? There are 4 specific groupings.
Life Insurance Policies – Your named beneficiary will be paid directly by the life insurance company.
Retirement and Pension Plans – IRAs and other retirement accounts will automatically pass to the beneficiary that you have named.
POD (Payable on Death) Accounts – When a POD account is set up, you select the beneficiary who will receive the account upon your death. These funds, therefore, do not go through probate as other bank accounts may.
Joint Tenancy Properties – Joint tenancy properties can include things such as a home, vehicle, or even a bank account. The advantage of having both names on a deed, title, or bank account is that these assets then avoid probate. The disadvantage is that creditors may be able to go after these assets for debts owed by the deceased.
Making Trust and Will Decisions in California
In order to keep your family from long and expensive probate battles, you may choose to use a trust to pass on your estate. However, the four means noted above also hasten the process and avoid probate even if you use a will only. Which option is best for you? The estate planning lawyers at the Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you make these decisions so that your loved ones will be well cared for when you are gone.Read More
If you are left unconscious by an accident or illness, how can you protect your right of self-determination in the state of California? It is of vital important to have an advanced health care directive legally filled out in advance. What is involved in completing this legal document?
A Document Specific to the State of California
First of all, it is important to note that heath care directives differ from state to state, so you need the wording to be appropriate for your home state, and a lawyer with experience in advanced health care directives can help you to execute this document properly to ensure your wishes are followed.
Second, you need to select the individual (or individuals) responsible for upholding your wishes if you are not conscious to do so yourself. This can be a family member, a reliable friend, or anyone else you trust to uphold your stated decisions. It is important to note that you cannot select a health care provider, your provider’s employee (unless related), or someone who works for any kind of community or residential care facility (again, unless related).
What Does the Directive Accomplish?
In your advanced medical directive, you can outline the types of medical treatment you will or will not accept as well as end of life decisions. This can make such decisions easier for loved ones since they will know your wishes in advance rather than having to make a decision on their own during a time of mourning. The directive also ensures that you will not receive treatments you may find offensive or do not wish to receive for some other reason.
What can happen if you do not have such a document? In the case of you being unable to make a decision (loss of consciousness, etc.) your medical decisions may be made by a distant relative, your doctor, or even a court order from a judge. These individuals may have no idea how you feel about certain forms of treatment. Thus, an advanced medical directive protects your legal right to make health care decisions for yourself.Read More
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to spell out your decisions for end-of-life care ahead of time. A clearly drafted advance directive will make your wishes clear to your family, friends, and health care professionals and will circumvent any confusion with your care and treatment should you become unable to speak for yourself. In a sense, it is one face of a living will as it gives direction for your medical care.
Typically when we think of creating living wills and advance directives, we imagine an elderly person who may be ill and hospitalized and is in need of legal documents outlining how everything should be taken care of once they are unable to make the decisions themselves. However, it is a good idea to consider an advance directive earlier on in life. By thinking ahead and outlining a plan for care before you find yourself in a compromising situation, you will be in a clear state of mind to designate the steps you would like for your loved ones to take should you become incapacitated. Often times, when we wait until we are hospitalized to draft up an advance directive, we might be influenced by surrounding stresses and pressures.
An experienced attorney will help guide you through the steps of drafting and signing an advance directive. It is important to have the text of your advance directive be as clear as possible as this will serve as your voice when needed. An attorney will make sure the right persons are listed for care and your wishes are unambiguous for the next person to interpret.Read More
Health Care Directive.
“I don’t want to be hooked up to tubes and machines.” This is one of the most common wishes for people who are trying to vocalize their end of life wishes. However, tubes and machines don’t always mean it’s the end of the patient’s life. While creating a health care directive, you need to be specific — medically specific — so as not to leave vague instructions that could mean unnecessary stress or legal actions.
While you should consult with an estate planner to create a comprehensive health care directive, you might also consider consulting with a physician. Health Care Directive need to be created through a series of realistic scenarios, and you need a coordinated effort between your doctor and your lawyer to make sure you wishes are reflected in your end of life instructions.
Often, people are very uncomfortable when discussing end of life health issues. In order to shorten the conversation, they will use broad, vague statements (like to one above) to avoid the painful conversation. Your lawyer can give you a set of questions that you can review with your loved ones and your doctor.
Keep in mind, tubes and machines aren’t just a way to keep you alive — they keep you alive to help you get better. Two months on a machine might mean another ten years alive.
It’s critical to review the questions and the answers with your family. They might be surprised at your decisions, but it’s better to discuss your answers now, in person. Then, your answers feed into your estate plan creating a comprehensive health care directive. The process can take several weeks and generally will involve several conversations. So, start now.Read More
Once you fill out the standard healthcare directive form, or you have created your healthcare directive with your estate planner, you need a simple, but comprehensive way to ensure that your wishes are known upon your incapacitation. Make several copies of the directive, indicating on each, the location of all the copies.
You need to keep the original for yourself. Don’t store it in an ultra-secure location like a safe hidden under the floor in the basement of your cousin’s house. Your healthcare directive needs to be easy to find on a moment’s notice. Simply place the original in a folder at your desk. Of course, if you have a safe, put a copy in there as well.
Give a copy to your lawyer. If your lawyer helped you create the healthcare directive, then she or he will already have a copy. However, double-check to ensure your lawyer has a copy. If the directive comes under question, you will want your lawyer to have quick access to the most recent copy.
Give a copy to anyone named as a healthcare agent. You should have already gone over your wishes with anyone named as your healthcare agent. However, once you have actually signed the final version, distribute a copy to those named in the document.
Think carefully before you hand out any other copies. Your healthcare directive might have some personal choices that will upset your spouse or children. Keep your instructions as private as possible.Read More
When you create a healthcare directive, frequently called a DNR or Do Not Resuscitate, you will need to select up to three people who will be willing to act on your behalf. You will select one primary health care agent along with two other contingency agents. One of these people will make your medical decisions when you have lost the ability to vocalize your own wishes.
Your agent will:
Select the hospital, clinic, or nursing home where you will receive care
Select your doctors
Approve all medical treatments
Decide on post-mortem issues such as organ donation and corporal disposal
Initiate any legal action to ensure your wishes are fulfilled
The person who becomes your health care agent will carry a significant responsibility. Make sure that you ask each person before adding them to your health care plan. In addition, make sure you share the health care plan with each person; one or more may have moral or religious beliefs that are in conflict with your wishes.
Most importantly, create a thorough health care directive. The directive become the guideline by which the agent will make all the decisions. If your directive is incomplete or vague, then the agent will be left to make difficult decisions without your guidance. Work with an estate attorney to ensure that your health care directive is complete and covers all of your final wishes.Read More
In short, probably, but not always. As a one-person operation, your need for insurance will depend on what kind of good and services you offer. If you can think of a way a client could sue you for injury (as opposed to breach of contract), then you are exposed and you probably need insurance. If you are a small business owner and you are being sued for personal injury, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Freelance graphic designer: Generally, the work you perform is alone and doesn’t generate any products that could potentially harm anyone. However, if you frequently have clients to your home office for consultations, you might be liable for the total cost of their injuries if they slip and fall while in your home. Although you can purchase a full commercial insurance policy, you might be able to avoid that cost by asking your homeowner insurance carrier if there is a home-business rider you can add to your policy.
Network Marketing Events: Companies like Tupperware and Mary Kay depend on sales consultants to host events at other people’s homes. Here there are two risks: 1) What happens if one of the guests gets injured? Generally, that dispute will be between the host (homeowner) and the guest. 2) What happens if the network marketing representative damages the house? That might be a possible problem. If the sales consultant accidentally burns the house down during a candle demonstration, he or she could be held liable for damages. However, the parent company could be named as a co-defendant in such a case. This is a vague area of liability, so if you are a network marketing consultant with significant assets, consult with an attorney about your possible exposure.
Small Shop Owner: If you run a small shop, the landlord for the property might require that you carry insurance. If not, then you should probably buy an insurance policy anyway. Having strangers come in and out of your shop exposes you to a major liability. One slip and fall, and you could be looking at an expensive lawsuit that could strip you of your personal assets. If you are being sued and you don’t have insurance, a good personal injury attorney can help minimize your losses.Read More
If you’ve ever been to the emergency room with a broken bone, you might have received a letter from your health insurance company asking if the injury happened at work. Why would they care if you got hurt at work? Because if you broke a bone while working, then the employer’s insurance plan has to pay for the medical expenses — not your health insurance plan.
So when you file a personal injury claim, you frequently unleash a battle between insurance companies as to which one is responsible for the costs. When insurance companies sue each other, its call subrogation. And frequently, as the insured you don’t know that these insurance battles are raging on behind the scenes. In the fine print of every insurance policy (and there is a lot of fine print) you give permission for the companies to sue each other.
However, while the insurance companies will fight with each other over the cost of your x-rays and pain prescriptions, they probably aren’t asking if you’ve lost wages due to the injury. You have to hire your own lawyer so that the lawsuits include all of your costs. With a few weeks out of work or a lifetime of disability, you have to become an advocate for yourself by hiring a lawyer.
And you have to do it before all of the insurance money runs out. Let’s say you were crossing the street and got hit by a car. You broke your foot. Initially, your health insurance covers the costs, but they soon realize the driver’s insurance company should be paying for the medical coverage. The insurance companies fight it out and come to a settlement. Meanwhile, you’re at home with a broken foot, unable to work. After a few months, you realize that you could still get some money for your lost wages. And with a lawyer, you can. It might take some time, but you can get money because you couldn’t work with a broken foot. However, had you contacted a lawyer right away, you could have come to a settlement before the insurance companies used it up for themselves.
Personal injuries cost more than the price of medical treatments. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer and claim your share of the insurance money.Read More