Two Estate Planning Essentials:

Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Purposes
You should have a durable power of attorney that is less than five years old. If yours is older than that, it’s time to update. The durable power of attorney allows your agent, whom you designate, to step into your shoes and make financial and legal arrangements for you if you are unable to do so yourself. It’s important to have one prepared in case you become incapacitated even temporarily.

Advanced Health Care Directive
The Advanced Health Care Directive allows you to designate an agent to make health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Under California Probate Code section 4609, “capacity” is defined as the “ability to understand the nature and consequences of a decision,” and the ability to communicate that decision. You also must be able to understand the “significant benefits, risks and alternatives” in making a decision regarding your health care. If you lack capacity, your agent may step in and make decisions for you. In passing the laws regarding advanced health care directives, the California legislature recognized that individuals have a fundamental right to control their own health care including the right to withhold or withdraw life sustaining treatment. (Probate Code § 4650(a).) If you do not have an advanced health care directive, now is the time to make one!

Contact Kristen D. Walton, Esq. to make an appointment for a free, in person consultation.

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