Advance Health Care Directives

One of the most important documents in your estate planning package of documents is the advance health care directive. The advance health care directive usually includes both a directive, instructions that you provide to your spouse or other agent, and a health care power of attorney. In the event that you do not leave instructions about a particular aspect of your health care, then your agent will have the discretion to make the decision for you if you are incompetent. In preparing an advance health care directive, it is important to think about what type, if any, life support you would want under different circumstances. The instructions you include in your advance health care directive will be binding on your agent. Additionally, there are other powers that you can give to your agent. For example, you may provide in your advance health care directive the power to your agent to change your residence. Unlike other powers of attorney, only one person at a time can serve as your agent for the health care power of attorney. Mr. Kopper periodically teaches a seminar through UC Davis Extension on the law of advance health care directives.

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