What Is a California Living Will Form?

Estate planning questions and answers

What is a California living will form? Does it help instruct your family on what you want done after you die? In this post, you’ll learn what a California living will form is, how it is used, and discuss other essential estate planning documents you should complete.

A California Living Will Form Is Used for Healthcare Decisions

The purpose of a California living will, better known as an advance healthcare directive, is to give you the opportunity to explain your wishes as they relate to healthcare. The document includes one or more instructions such as whether to withdraw or withhold certain life-sustaining measures (such as artificial nutrition and hydration) if you are determined to be permanently incapacitated in some way. The document gives you the ability to name someone who can make sure that your wishes are honored. This person also has the important job of making decisions that aren’t included in the living will form in a way that they believe would honor your desires.

So, in short, a California living will form is used for future medical care and nothing else.

What Other Estate Planning Documents Should You Use?

Of course, completing a California living will form is important. It’s so important that the California Department of Justice provides the public with a free version. Yet, it shouldn’t be the only document you complete when you’re planning for the end of your life.

There are a lot of different estate planning documents available. The ones you’d choose solely depend on your specific situation. Regardless of the ones you use, you’ll want to create a plan to review your estate plan on a periodic basis to make sure that it still fits your needs.

Related: California Estate Planning: The Basic Documents Involved

Everyone Needs a California Last Will and Testament

All adults in the State of California need to create a California Last Will and Testament. This document may be typed or it may be handwritten. The key to remember is that the document must meet all of the requirements set forth by California law.

The difference between a California living will form and a Last Will and Testament is that the Last Will and Testament is used to explain how you’d like your property distributed. If you have a minor child, it is also used to name a guardian. Dying without a Last Will and Testament means that the probate court would follow intestate laws to determine how your property is split up between legal heirs and they would also choose a guardian on your behalf.

Related: Drafting a Legal Will in California

Final Notes

It’s important to speak with an estate planning lawyer about your specific needs. That is the best way to ensure that your estate is preserved, taxes are reduced, and your wishes are honored. At the very least, every adult should have both a completed California living will form and a Last Will and Testament.

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