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Making an Advance Directive in California
A California Advance Directive is a legal document that sets forth your wishes related to medical care, such as your acceptance or refusal of a medical treatment, and/or appointment of a chosen decision maker.
The individual making an Advance Directive is called the "principal," and the individual or organization obtaining authority to carry out the principal's wishes is called the "agent." Designed for California residents, this Advance Directive can be used in San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, and in all other regions in the state. Each California Advance Directive from Rocket Lawyer can be completely customized for your specific circumstances. With this official legal document on hand, your medical providers will have a record of your decisions, and your agent(s) will be able to offer proof that they have the authority to make choices for you when you are not able.
It's very easy to outline your medical wishes using a free California Advance Directive template from Rocket Lawyer:
This method is often going to be much less expensive and less time-consuming than hiring and working with a conventional attorney. If necessary, you can start this Advance Directive on behalf of your spouse or another relative, and then have them sign once you've drafted it. Please note that for an Advance Directive to be accepted as legally valid, the principal must be an adult who is mentally competent when they sign. If the principal has already been declared incompetent, a conservatorship could be necessary. When facing such a scenario, it is a good idea for you to connect with a lawyer.
Everyone over 18 years old ought to have an Advance Healthcare Directive (both a Living Will and a Healthcare Power of Attorney). While it is tough to think about, a time might come when you can no longer make your own healthcare decisions. Common situations in which you might find it useful to make or update your Advance Directive include:
Whether this California Advance Directive is being prepared as part of a long-term plan or made in response to a change in your health, notarization and witnesses are highly encouraged as a best practice for protecting this document and/or your agent if their privileges are disputed by a third party. Please note that in California, this document is not valid during pregnancy.
Making an Advance Directive is normally straightforward, but you may have legal questions. Having an attorney look over your document may take longer than you'd expect on your own. An easier approach could be through attorney services at Rocket Lawyer. Rocket Lawyer members can request advice from an On Call attorney with relevant experience or ask additional questions. As always, you can be confident that Rocket Lawyer is here by your side.
The cost of hiring and working with a conventional lawyer to make an Advance Directive might range anywhere between two hundred and one thousand dollars. Rocket Lawyer isn't your average Advance Directive template website. With us, anyone under a Rocket Lawyer Premium membership has access to up to 40% in savings when hiring an attorney from our network.
After creating this customized Advance Directive with the help of Rocket Lawyer, you will be able to view it wherever and whenever you choose. With a Premium membership, you can edit it, save it as a Word or PDF document, print it out, and/or sign it. Alongside each California Advance Directive, there's a list of tips on what you should do next. You should send a final copy of the signed document to your agent(s), care providers, and other impacted parties.
The specifications governing Advance Directives will vary by state; however, in California, your document must be acknowledged by a notary public or signed by two witnesses. Witnesses to an Advance Directive should not be any employer or operator of the healthcare or community/residential care facility providing your care. Only one of the witnesses may be someone who is an heir, a beneficiary, or otherwise legally related to you (such as a spouse, adopted child, or family member). As a basic rule, witnesses will need to be at least 18 years old, and no witness should also be named as your agent.
Legal references for an Advance Directive in California: § 4700 - 4701