In San Diego County, California a living will, also identified as a "healthcare directive" is a document which lays out instructions for your family and your doctor concerning healthcare matters should you become so ill that you are unable to make or express such decisions.
A living will might prove necessary in heading off painful and time-consuming disputes among family members. If your family has no clue as to how you would want a given situation to be handled, it's up to them to guess. Obviously, this can lead to significant disagreements. If family members know in advance what the patient wants, these disputes are far less likely.
For instance, some people would not want to be kept on life support if they are terminally ill, and have no reasonable chance at recovery. Others might want to be kept alive as long as medically possible. If your family doesn't know what you would prefer, they might have to guess. Obviously, this can lead to significant disagreements, considering how emotional and final this decision is- there is no way to compromise between the two positions (a person can be kept on life support, or taken off of it; there isn't really any middle ground.).
If a person's preferences aren't known by his or her family, they might have to make an educated guess. Of course, with limited information, it's entirely possible for 2 family members to come to two entirely different conclusions, with no way of knowing which one is correct. Making your wishes known in advance can help you avoid all this.
How to Create A Living Will in San Diego County, California
Before starting the process, you should make your wishes quite clear to your family. If your family is aware of your wishes well in advance, it will probably be much easier for them to accept the provisions in your living will, even if they don't agree with them.
You should then go about drafting the will. This should almost always be done with the assistance of a San Diego County, California attorney who specializes in these matters.
Living wills often have to follow the same formalities as regular wills (the ones that distribute a person's property after their death).
In general, wills of any type (testamentary or living) have to be signed by 2 people who witnessed it being signed by the person who the will is for. They must also contain a clear provision saying what they truly are (so there can be no confusion as to whether or not a particular document was intended to be a will).
Do I Need A San Diego County, California Living Will Attorney?
While not absolutely necessary, a knowledgeable estates attorney in San Diego County, California can be very helpful in drafting a living will. A lawyer will understand the intricacies of state and local law, and can craft a document around those laws, to ensure that your wishes are followed, to the extent possible.