Plan For Your Future Tomorrow


Advance Directives Attorney in Oakland, California

When it comes to estate planning, advance directives are essential tools for establishing your wishes about your health and your estate. Advance directives are legal documents that outline your preferences for medical treatment and care in situations where you may not be able to communicate your decisions.  

These vital documents serve as your voice during times when you are unable to speak for yourself, making sure your healthcare choices are respected by providing clear instructions. Since advance directives involve deeply personal topics, consulting with an experienced advance directives attorney can help make sure your documents are accurate and legally binding.  

At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, located in Oakland, California, I offer the knowledge and experience needed to help you create effective and legally sound advance directives that can safeguard your rights and healthcare wishes, offering you control over your future medical care. 

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What Is an Advance Directive? 

An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to state in detail your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care. It offers a way to communicate your healthcare wishes to your family, friends, and healthcare professionals so they can care for you should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to voice your decisions.  

Essentially, an advance directive combines two primary estate planning documents into a single form that lays out your medical treatment preferences and names a healthcare agent to act on your behalf. These two documents include: 

  • Living Will: A living will is an essential estate planning document that specifies your decisions for any medical treatment you receive if you become unable to make your own decisions. It focuses on end-of-life care, including decisions on the use of life-prolonging treatments, and specifies what interventions you would accept or refuse. 

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: Also known as a healthcare proxy, a durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to appoint a trusted person, known as a healthcare agent, to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.  

Understanding these documents and having them in place is crucial for ensuring that your healthcare wishes are known and respected. At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I can help you draft the necessary documents to safeguard your healthcare preferences.  

Who Needs an Advance Directive? 

In California, I recommend that everyone over the age of 18 should consider having an advance directive in place. It's a common misconception that only the elderly or those with significant health issues require such documents. However, unforeseen situations can occur at any age, leaving an individual incapacitated and unable to communicate their healthcare wishes.  

An advance directive ensures that your preferences for medical treatment are known and can be followed, regardless of your age or current health status. 

Additionally, setting up an advance directive can relieve your loved ones of the burden of making difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf. It provides clarity and guidance to your healthcare agent, reducing uncertainty and conflicts that might arise when deciding on medical treatment. 

How to Create an Advance Directive 

Creating an advance directive in California involves several specific steps to make sure the document accurately reflects your healthcare wishes. Here are the steps you should take to create an advance directive in California: 

  1. Understand the Components: First, familiarize yourself with the two main components of an advance directive: a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.  

  1. Complete the Form: Obtain the California Advance Health Care Directive form. This form is available online from various reputable sources, including healthcare providers and legal resources. The form combines both the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare into one document. 

  1. Specify Your Healthcare Wishes: Clearly state your healthcare preferences in the living will section. Specify what types of life-sustaining treatments, such as mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, and resuscitation efforts, you would want or would not want in circumstances where recovery is unlikely. Use plain language and be specific about your preferences for different medical scenarios. 

  1. Select a Healthcare Agent: Appoint a reliable and trustworthy person as your healthcare agent in the durable power of attorney for the healthcare section. This person should be someone who understands your values and is willing to make important decisions under pressure if you are unable to do so yourself. 

  1. Sign and Execute the Directive: In California, your advance directive must be either signed in front of two adult witnesses or notarized. The witnesses cannot be your healthcare agent and should not be related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption. At least one witness should be someone who is not personally or financially responsible for your medical care.  

  1. Review Your Directive Periodically: Your healthcare wishes may change over time, so it is essential to review and potentially update your advance directive periodically, especially after major life events such as marriage, divorce, or a significant change in your health status. 

Advance directives in California must adhere to specific legal requirements, as laid out by the California Probate Code. At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I can help you make sure your documents are both legally sound and aligned with your healthcare wishes. 

How Can I Help? 

At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I offer comprehensive estate planning services with a strong emphasis on creating detailed and legally binding advance directives. My mission is to help you prepare for the future by ensuring that your healthcare wishes are well-documented and respected, facilitating peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. Some of the services I offer include: 

  • Personalized Estate Planning Services: I offer personalized consultations to understand your unique needs and concerns. By getting to know you on a personal level, I can tailor your advance directive to reflect your specific wishes for end-of-life care. 

  • Legal Expertise and Documentation: I provide an in-depth knowledge of California state laws regarding advance directives for drafting your living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare. This includes assistance in understanding the legal language and making sure your documents are properly completed and that they meet all state legal requirements. 

  • Support in Choosing a Healthcare Agent: I can help you select an agent who is not only trustworthy but also understands and respects your healthcare philosophy. This support includes facilitating discussions about your healthcare wishes with your chosen agent to ensure they are fully prepared to act on your behalf if necessary. 

  • Execution and Storage Assistance: I can assist with the proper execution of your advance directive, making sure it is signed, witnessed, or notarized as required by California law. I also offer advice on the safe storage of your documents and how to communicate their existence and location to your appointed healthcare agent and loved ones. 

My goal is to empower you to maintain control over your healthcare decisions through a well-crafted advance directive. By entrusting me with your advance directive needs, you'll receive expert legal advice, meticulous document preparation, and compassionate support every step of the way. 

Advance Directives Attorney in Oakland, California 

Setting up advance directives can seem daunting, but the peace of mind they afford is well worth the effort. At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I will help you create a comprehensive advance directive that accurately reflects your healthcare wishes. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Oakland, California, I serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, Rockridge, Piedmont, Fruitvale, Fremont, San Jose, San Francisco, and beyond.