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Making a Living Will in California
A California Living Will is a legal document that lays out your preferences related to medical care, such as your acceptance or refusal of a medical treatment or procedure, along with the optional selection of a chosen agent or decision maker.
The person making a Living Will is known as the "principal," while the person or entity obtaining permission to carry out the principal's wishes is called the "agent." Designed for residents of California, this Living Will is made for use in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and in all other regions throughout the state. Any California Living Will form from Rocket Lawyer can be edited for your particular situation. As a result of this official document, your medical facilities will have a point of reference for your decisions, and your agent(s) can provide proof that they have the authority to make choices for you.
It is very easy to set forth your medical wishes using a free California Living Will template from Rocket Lawyer:
This solution, in many cases, will be much less expensive and less time-consuming than working with a conventional law firm. If needed, you can start this Living Will on behalf of an elderly parent, a spouse, or another relative and then have them sign when ready. Keep in mind that for this document to be valid, the principal must be an adult who is mentally competent when they sign. If the principal has already been declared legally incompetent, a conservatorship may be required. When dealing with this situation, it's important to work with an attorney.
Anyone who is over 18 should have a Living Will in place. Even though it is painful to think about, a time might come when you can no longer make your own health care decisions. Common situations where it may be useful to make or update your Living Will include:
Whether your California Living Will is being drafted as part of a long-term plan or created in response to a recent change in your health, notarization and witnesses can often help to protect your document if its authority is challenged. Please keep in mind that, in California, a Living Will is not valid during pregnancy.
Making a Living Will is typically simple, but you or your agent(s) might need legal advice. Locating a legal professional to check your California Living Will can be relatively time-consuming. A more cost-effective way to double-check your document is through the On Call network of attorneys. With a Premium membership, you can get your document reviewed or send any questions. As always, you can rest assured that Rocket Lawyer is by your side.
The fees associated with finding and hiring a law firm to draft a Living Will could total anywhere between $200 and $1,000, depending on where you are located. When you use Rocket Lawyer, you are not just filling out a Living Will template. If you ever need help from a lawyer, your Premium membership offers up to 40% in savings when you hire an attorney from our network.
When you're done making the document using Rocket Lawyer, you will be able to access it at any time and place. You may also perform any or all of the following actions with your document: editing it, printing it, and/or signing it. Alongside each California Living Will form, there is a list of next steps to take once your document is completed. You should send a copy of the fully signed document to your agent(s), care providers, and other impacted parties.
The specifications will vary by state; however, in California, your document requires notarization or the signatures of two witnesses. Witnesses to a Living Will should not be any employer or operator of the health care 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 standard, witnesses should be 18 years old or older, and none should also be your agent.
Legal references for a Living Will in California: § 4700 - 4701
Last reviewed or updated 09/28/2021