No one wants to imagine the day when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. While many Californians envision that this moment will not take place until many years into the future, the truth is that it only takes an accident or other life-changing incident for a person to lose their capacity to understand how best to meet their own needs.
This can be particularly true when a person is medically unable to make decisions about their own treatment and care. In a situation where a person is alive but unable to communicate their wishes about the steps taken to extend their life it is imperative that they have provided someone else with information on their wishes for treatment and interventions. A person who steps in and has the authority to make medical decisions for another is a proxy; the ability to take on this power is granted through a health proxy document.
A health proxy outlines what a person will authorize for their own medical treatment and care and vests the power to see those decisions carried out in a named individual. It is helpful if a person discusses their preferences with their chosen proxy prior to executing their health proxy document so that any issues or confusion may be remedied.
Planning for what could be the end of one's life is not an uplifting subject, but it is one of the most important things that a person can do to ensure that their wishes regarding their medical care are respected. Attorney Michael Sawamura is available to help clients work through the difficult process of drafting and executing their own health proxies.