Many states have similar documents, the most common is the "Living Will" (don't confuse this with the Living Trust).
The Advance Health Care Directive in use in California is more flexible than the traditional living will in that it allows an individual to not only give various health care instructions in advance, it also allows for the individual to appoint someone to make medical decisions for them if necessary.
Thus, it also replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC). However, if you already have executed a DPAHC and it has not expired, it will still be valid and recognized in California.
The Advance Health Care Directive is very easy to complete, and the best form for it is produced by the California Medical Association.
Every adult residing in California should execute an Advance Health Care Directive.
It is often included in the overall Estate Planning of Trusts and Wills.
If you have any questions concerning the Advance Health Care Directive, please contact me.
I practice law in Orange County, California.
DWIGHT EDWARD TOMPKINS, ATTORNEY AT LAW
Nothing in this blog is intended to be legal advice or substitute for legal advice. This blog is for information purposes only. Mr. Tompkins is licensed to practice law in California. The laws of your state, country or jurisdiction may vary.