How to Do a Living Will Yourself in California

Living wills are documents that specify how a person wishes to handle his medical care in the event that he is placed on artificial life support or is otherwise unable to express his wishes about the care he wants to receive. They are composed of two forms. The first grants durable power of attorney for health care to someone the person trusts; the second outlines the types of treatments the person would or would not like to receive. In California, these two documents are combined into a document called an advance (or advanced) health care directive.

Step 1

Obtain an an advanced health care directive form. The generic forms are available from an attorney or for free online (see Resources). You may also find them at your local hospital.

Step 2

Read the document in its entirety and research any unclear topics or wording before proceeding.

Step 3

Fill in the blanks presented in the document. These blanks include information about who will be assigned the task of executing the living will in the event that it becomes necessary. It also outlines your wishes on what types of procedures you are and are not willing to undergo.

Step 4

Sign the document with two witnesses so that it will be considered legally binding. One of the two witnesses must be a non-family member who has no material interest in your estate in the event of your death.


Step 5

Obtain a copy of the Registration of Written Advanced Health Care Directive form (see Resources). Fill out the form and mail it with a $10 payment to the Secretary of State; Advanced Health Care Directive Registry; P.O. Box 94287; Sacramento, CA 94277-0001. This guarantees that your living will is executed according to your wishes if the need arises. This step is optional and is not necessary for the living will to be considered a fully binding legal document.