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HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES AND THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

By Pat Kuramoto, Legal Assistant, Notary 

A health care directive allows you to name an agent to make health care decisions for you, express your philosophy regarding end of life decisions and how to dispose of your remains after death.. The directive can also contain directions for your health care. 
 
Now with the necessary social distancing and hospital quarantines, pandemic problems can occur with the signing of the directive. In California a your signature on a health care directive must be notarized or the directive must be signed by two witnesses who are not named as agents and not health care providers, and one of whom is not related to your. If you are in  a skilled nursing facility you must have a patient ombudsman witness the signing of the document and also sign the directive as a witness.
 
These requirements can cause problems especially with an isolated covid patient.  California, however,  does allow documents to be notarized in other states as long as the notarization complies with that state’s laws.  States such as Nevada and Texas allow for remote online notarization which could be used to notarize a California health care directive.   Therefore these directives could be signed using zoom or face time.
 
Another covid problem is the lack of  available and safe transportation.   Your health care directive should also allow your agent to be make decisions for you via electronic  media such as Skype, Facetime, email, etc.

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