Powers of Attorney for Health Care dated after January 1, 1992 do not expire unless otherwise stated on the form. All Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) and Natural Death Act statements remain valid. So, unless your current DPAHC has expired, you don't have to complete a new Advance Health Care Directive. A DPAHC executed before 1992 has expired and needs to be replaced.
You can decide if you want your power of attorney to expire on a certain date or after your agent performs a specific task. Or, your power of attorney may be durable. This means that it will last until you cancel it or until you die. A power of attorney is a useful document that serves to ensure that your finances, health and personal matters are taken care of by a trusted person in case you cannot manage them yourself.
When does a power of attorney expire and how long can each type of this important document remain in force? The purpose of a power of attorney is to give the agent the authority to act on behalf of an agent while he or she is still alive. Therefore, all powers of attorney, regardless of type, automatically expire when the agent learns of the director's death. An attorney can help you decide which of the different types of power of attorney best suits your particular needs and circumstances. You don't need a separate living will if you have already expressed your wishes about life support treatment in an advance health care directive.
California makes your permanent power of attorney for health care part of an advance health care directive. It is important that you discuss your health care wishes with the person or persons you designate as your health care agent and with your doctor (s). An advance health care directive allows you not only to appoint an agent, but also to give instructions about your health care. It is possible that the medical power of attorney and the financial power of attorney are the same person.
However, medical and financial powers of attorney may be created and appointed for a variety of different reasons. In the event of death, your health care agent may be responsible for paying fees related to the disposition of your body if you have not made other arrangements. This type of power of attorney is for medical decisions and only comes into effect when a doctor certifies that the director can no longer make decisions about his or her own health care. You must make a list of the individuals and institutions you give a copy of the form to know who to contact if you revoke the Advance Health Care Directive, update your contact information, or create a new one.
The Advance Health Care Directive has replaced the Permanent Power of Attorney for Health Care (or “DPAHC”) as the legally recognized document for appointing a health care agent in California. You should also bring a copy if you are going to be admitted to a hospital, nursing home, or other health facility. There are different forms of power of attorney, and each type gives the agent specific powers and limitations. Unlike a living will, an Advance Health Care Directive can also be used to express your wishes about your health care in any situation where you cannot make your decisions, not just when you are in a coma or are terminally ill.
You can, but are not required to, express your wishes about the goals and types of medical care you want or don't want, including your wishes regarding life support if you are seriously ill.