Is a Notary Required for a California Living Will?

By Teo Spengler

Advanced health care directives allow you some control over end-of-life decisions. A living will is an advance health care directive in which you list out the types of medical treatment that are acceptable and unacceptable to you. Living wills are enforced in California if properly witnessed, although a notary is not always required.

Advanced health care directives allow you some control over end-of-life decisions. A living will is an advance health care directive in which you list out the types of medical treatment that are acceptable and unacceptable to you. Living wills are enforced in California if properly witnessed, although a notary is not always required.

Advanced Health Care Directives

The time may come when you are not able to make medical decisions for yourself. California residents can control these issues to some extent by making advanced health care directives, legal documents naming an agent to make medical decisions and setting up boundaries about the types of care received.

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Power of Attorney and Living Will

California authorizes two kinds of health care documents. One is a durable power of attorney for health care, in which you identify the person you wish to manage your medical care if you become incompetent. The other is the living will in which you set out your decisions about end-of-life issues, like whether your life should be prolonged if you are in an irreversible coma.

Witness Requirements

In California, you must sign your health care directive or else direct another adult to sign it in your presence. Your signature must then be acknowledged either by a notary public or by two adult witnesses. Employees of your health care provider or care facility are among those who cannot serve as witnesses.

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Incompetence & Affects on a Living Will

References

Related articles

Does a Surgeon Have to Tell You to Do a Power of Attorney If You Are to Have Heart Surgery?

If you are scheduled for serious or risky surgery, it is a good idea to discuss the merits of an advance healthcare directive with your physician. One option is a durable power of attorney that authorizes a trusted friend to make decisions on your behalf while you are incapacitated; another is a living will. However, your surgeon cannot obligate you to execute either legal document.

What Is an Agent Under a Power of Attorney for Health Care in California?

A power of attorney for health care is a legal relationship where one person, known as the agent, makes medical decisions for another person, known as the principal. In California, the document must meet certain formal requirements to be considered valid. Once executed, the powers delegated to the agent can be as broad or as limited as the principal desires, including the power to make anatomical gifts and end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney may generally be revoked by the principal at any time.

Medical Power of Attorney Explanation

When you are competent to make your own medical decisions, your health care providers rely on you to help determine what treatments are best for you. But if you become unable to make your own health care decisions, the person you name in a health care power of attorney will work with health care providers in your stead. For example, if you name your sister as the agent to make your medical decisions in case you become incompetent, she will direct your medical care if you later develop dementia that makes you incapable of making your own health care decisions.

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