Advance Health Care Directive



Your Advance Health Care Directive is a prominent part of the Estate Plan along with your Will, Durable General Power of Attorney and (often) a Revocable Living Trust.

Concerning decisions such as life support and organ donation, the little pink dot dotting the back of one’s license doesn’t suffice: you need more to adequately direct care and treatment if incapacitated and upon one’s death.

The Advance Health Care Directive:

The Advance Health Care Directive[1] (which is nominally less-of-a-mouthful than its former title “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”) answers the question, whose life is it anyway?[2]

Bolstered by a HIPAA[3] (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization form to facilitate access to records, the Advance Health Care Directive appoints your preferred Health Care Agent to make essential decisions (like taking extreme measures to prolong life… or not).

The advance appointment of an agent ensures your wishes will be honored if you become unable to communicate your choices. The Directive will also nominate an additional functionary (a Conservator of Person and Estate) if such appointment is required (in a case of long-term incapacitation).

In the event Agents or Conservators are unavailable to act when called upon, then rest assured: your Directive will have already designated alternate functionaries in the order of priority, which you specify.

The Advance Health Care Directive: part and parcel of the living trust and estate plan.

The Advance Health Care Directive is a forward-thinking measure. 

Some Sentences on Singletons:

If you’re a Bridget without a beau and “kid-less” to boot, you might wonder,

Why do I need an Advance Health Care Directive?

Being wed and/or possessing one’s own nuclear family is a frequent incentive for estate planning: you answer to others. There is a duty to put directions in place. Yet, bachelors and bachelorettes must likewise consider the repercussions of possible incapacitation. In matters of life and death, even an unattached person presumably wants her faith or metaphysical preferences honored. Though you may answer only to you, you need to nominate agents for health care (as well as financial management) in contemplation of the event that you can’t administer matters yourself.


[1] The Advance Health Care Directive is governed by California Probate Code Section 4701.

[2] In popular (or relatively popular in this case) culture, the Advance Health Care Directive was featured in the George Clooney film, “The Descendants.”

[3] The Federal HIPAA is found at 45 CFR Part 164; applicable, corresponding California law is located at California Civil Code Section 56.13.