Formalizing an advance health care directive is a powerful part of estate planning. It can ensure that your medical providers adhere to your health care wishes, even if you cannot communicate those wishes orally. When written well, an advance health care directive adds strength to your estate plan.
Some in Ventura County, California, reject advance health care directives because they believe in the many myths surrounding these documents. Instead of trusting everything you hear or read about advance directives, get the facts so you can make a well-informed decision.
Three advance medical directive myths to disregard
To help you separate fact from fiction regarding advance directives, browse the following myths that many Californians continue to believe:
- Myth: An advance directive indicates that you do not want medical treatment.
- Fact: The document merely allows you to state the kind of treatments you want and do not want. For example, you can use the directive to refuse life-prolonging treatment if near death, or you can use it to tell doctors you want to remain alive for as long as possible.
- Myth: Your doctors can disregard your health care directives.
- Fact: Legally, medical professionals must follow a patient’s directives, but they can refuse if the instructions are morally unconscionable to them. If care providers refuse, they must notify patients or their proxies and help arrange alternative care.
- Myth: You lose control over your medical care if you have an advance health care directive.
- Fact: An advance health care directive can ensure you retain control over the treatment you receive. Such documents typically have no legal power unless and until you become incapacitated and can no longer express your wishes.
If you wish to add advance medical directives to your estate plan, consider learning more about how they work in California.