California Power of Attorney for Health Care

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In California, the form you need to fill out to enable someone else to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated is called the California Power of Attorney for Health Care form.

You have the power to elect which healthcare choices your representative (legally called your agent) is allowed to make for you. You may allow your representative to make all your decisions for you, or you may specify which procedures or treatments you wish to be carried out.


Your California Power of Attorney for Health Care form must be signed by you and two witnesses. If you are unable to sign the form, a witness may sign for you in your presence and with your permission. Neither of the signing witnesses may be an employee of any of your health care providers. One of the witnesses must be outside your family, and must not benefit from your estate after your death.

When Your California Power of Attorney for Health Care Goes Into Effect

The California Power of Attorney for Health Care will go into effect if and when your primary care physician determines that you are no longer able to make competent decisions about your health care.

Making Your Wishes Known

Your California Power of Attorney for Health Care authorizes your representative to make any and/or all decisions regarding your health care in accordance with your wishes and within the bounds of the law. If you would like your representative to carry out specific instructions, you should put those instructions in writing to make sure they are undertaken to your satisfaction.

Treatments and Procedures

If you do not limit the health care decisions your representative can make for you, your representative will have the authority, should the need arise, to make decisions for you on the following:

  • Any procedures, treatments, and/or medications that are performed
  • Selecting the doctors that treat you, or discharging any doctor that is treating you
  • Approving or disapproving any tests to be performed
  • Approving or disapproving the use of life-support equipment
  • Deciding whether or not you will be resuscitated in the event you stop breathing or your heart stops
  • Making decisions about your organs and bodily remains, in the event of your death

California Power of Attorney for Health Care Form

There is no mandatory format for the California Power of Attorney for Health Care form, but a recommended format is available online. The form may be modified by the patient before signing. If you have additional questions about your decision to grant power of attorney for health care in California, consult an experienced California estate planning attorney or California elder law attorney today.

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