Here at The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu, we are dedicated to helping each client assess and carry out his or her wishes for all aspects of estate planning. We are passionate about helping each person we represent manage and dispose of property and money during life and after death. But it is also crucially important to educate each client about advance health care directives, meaning the legal documents and processes available under California law to help a person:
- Designate a power of attorney for health care, also called a health care agent, meaning someone to make medical treatment decisions should the client become incapacitated.
- Give detailed instructions for health care treatment should the person lose the ability to direct that care, particularly concerning pain control and end-of-life choices. This is sometimes called a living will.
Doctor-patient end-of-life conversations
A client’s conversations with his or her physicians about these issues from a medical standpoint is intimately related to our job, which is to assist a client in clearly executing legally binding documents to control health care decision making in case of future incapacity. The client who has discussed treatment options in possible future scenarios as well as medical decisions that could arise considering the client’s particular health issues comes to our office better prepared to execute strong health care directives.
A new kind of data sheds light on advance care planning discussions between patients and their doctors. For the first time in 2016, Medicare covered billed services by physicians for these end-of-life treatment counseling sessions, according to MedCity News. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS reports that for the first half of the year, about 223,000 of these visits were billed nationally to Medicare, with California being among the top three states in which these occurred.
Support yourself and your loved ones
Talk to your doctor about end-of-life decisions and consult a lawyer to make your particular directions and preferences legally binding by executing advance care directives. It will bring you peace and help your loved ones when facing the stress and grief of a medical emergency to understand your wishes as well as to have legal documents to support those choices.