California Living Will Laws

The laws and requirements on the California living wills are found in California Probate Code § 4600 through § 4736.  The California law suggests that the living will be written by a person with the legal capacity to be used when the said person cannot be able to make medical decisions.  In this, the principal can name an agent and an alternate agent.

Whereas the California law allows the principal to name their health care agent using California living will, it comes with limitations according to § 4700 – 4701. These are:

  • A medical provider, an employee of the medical provider, operator, or employee of the community care facility cannot be chosen as the health care agent
  • Medical providers, employees of the medical provider, operator, or employees of the community care facility can only be authorized if they are their domestic partners or related to the principal by marriage, blood, or adoption
  • A California living will be signed by two witnesses
  • One of the witnesses should be related to the principal or be entitled to any part of their estate
  • In cases where the principal is in a skilled nursing facility, the California living will be witnessed by an ombudsman or patient advocate

Who and when to make a California living will

The California state laws allow anyone over 18 years to have a living will. The California living will can be made in situations where one cannot be able to make viable medical decisions regardless of their age bracket (From 18 years). Instances where a living will is required in California, include when:

  • The principal has been terminally diagnosed
  • The principal is aged
  • The principal is dealing with ongoing/long-term medical issues
  • The principal is undergoing an in-patient procedure that requires anesthesia
  • The principal wants to move into a care facility or has been residing there

Revocation the California Living will

The revocation of the living will is effective when it is communicated to the attending physician. It can be done at any given point regardless of the physical or mental state of the principal. The attending physicians cannot be subjected to professional, criminal, or civil liability when they are acting in good faith and complying with the California living will as declared by the principal.

The California living will should be an update or a make due to a response to a sudden change in the health of the principal. It can also be based on a long-term plan put in place. It also indicates if the principal will donate his or her organs.  However, it is important to note that the living will cannot be used during pregnancy. Notarization of the California living will is crucial as it helps in protecting the authority of the document when questioned.