orrison Law - Serving North San Diego and South-Western Riverside Counties (760) 724-9580

By Andrea Aston, Attorney at Law

The recent headline news about Terri Schiavo has raised public awareness of end-of-life issues and the need for advance planning. No one wants to face the fact of their own demise. But the reality is that we will all be there someday. The way to avoid the kind of moral and legal struggle that we witnessed with Mrs. Schiavo's family is to execute a written advance health care directive before it is needed.

The advance directive names a health care agent to make decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so. It also includes provisions for end-of-life care, commonly known as the "living will." This portion of the document states that if two doctors agree that you have an incurable condition with no hope of recovery, and that machines are the only things keeping you alive, that you either do or do not want to be kept on life support.

An advance directive is just one of the documents in a comprehensive estate plan that usually includes a living trust, pour over wills and financial powers of attorney. The main purpose of a living trust is to pass your estate on to your heirs without the necessity of a court probate procedure.

All of these documents are necessary to ensure that your affairs are in order and that you are taken care of according to your own wishes should you become incapacitated. Generally, California the law does not recognize oral agreements, thus the necessity to put your wishes in writing.

Morrison Law, located at River Village in Bonsall, has two attorneys available to assist in your estate planning. Please call to schedule an appointment with either Carl Morrison, 724-9580, or Andrea Aston, 758-1565.