This article examines the mechanics of Living Will and durable power of attorney legislation. It analyzes their relative strengths and weaknesses as well as their potential usefulness to the terminally ill patient. Because the California statute [California Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions Act] represents the latest approach to advance directive decisionmaking, it is examined in detail. Used exclusive of, or in tandem with, the Living Will, the California durable power of attorney has the potential for becoming a powerful tool for those who struggle to retain control over the circumstances surrounding their inevitable death.

I. Introduction

II. The Living Will as a Legislative Alternative ... A. Procedural Requirements ... B. Physician Immunity ... C. Summary

III. The Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Decisionmaking ... A. Generally ... B. Key Provisions of the California Act ... C. Legal Effects of the California Act ... D. The Limits of Health Care Decisionmaking Power ... E. Summary

IV. Conclusions

Appendix I