Nolo's Guide to California Law

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Overview

As citizens, we are presumed to know the law. Ignorance, as many of us learn the hard way, is no excuse -- but going to a lawyer to answer legal questions can be expensive, and not very practical. Nolo's Guide to California Law offers a wealth of information on the laws that affect you every day. Inside are hundreds of topics organized in easy-to-find categories -- just look up the topic you have a question about and get a clear, concise explanation of the law. The revised 8th edition is completely updated to ...
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Overview

As citizens, we are presumed to know the law. Ignorance, as many of us learn the hard way, is no excuse -- but going to a lawyer to answer legal questions can be expensive, and not very practical. Nolo's Guide to California Law offers a wealth of information on the laws that affect you every day. Inside are hundreds of topics organized in easy-to-find categories -- just look up the topic you have a question about and get a clear, concise explanation of the law. The revised 8th edition is completely updated to reflect the latest laws and court decisions that affect the Golden State.
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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Superior Court
Finally a user-friendly book to demystify the legalese of everyday law for real people.
— Jeanne F. Stott
The Daily Recorder
Touches on hundreds of topics marshaled into logical categories so readers can quickly look up almost any subject and get a clear, concise explanation of the law and how it affects them.
Jeanne F. Stott
Finally a user-friendly book to demystify the legalese of everyday law for real people.
Attorney at Law, Small Claims Legal Advisor for the San Francisco Municipal Court
The Daily Recorder
The guide touches on hundreds of topics marshaled into logical categories so readers can quickly look up almost any subject and get a clear, concise explanation of the law and how it affects them.
Sacramento, CA
California Bookwatch
Covers almost any situation, from parental kidnapping to landlord/tenant relations, responsibilities, and common issues.... An updated 'must' for any interested in California law.
From the Publisher
“Finally, a user-friendly book to demystify the legalese of everyday law for real people.”  Attorney Jeanne F. Scott, Small Claims Legal Advisor

“Readers can quickly look up almost any subject and get a clear, concise explanation of the law and how it affects them."  Sacramento Daily Recorder

“ An updated ‘must’ for anyone interested in California law.”  Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413308624
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 7/26/2008
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 1,006,621
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Guerin, an editor and author specializing in employment law, is author or co-author of several Nolo books, including The Manager's Legal Handbook, Dealing with Problem Employees, The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws, Workplace Investigations, Create Your Own Employee Handbook, and Nolo's Guide to California Law. Guerin has practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice where she represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Guerin's blog on lessons learned by employers and HR professionals on everything from hiring and firing to performance and discipline can be found at Nolo's Employment Law Blog.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Many of us are concerned about what will happen to us if a serious accident or illness strikes and we are unable to make our own medical and financial decisions. This section covers the legal options we have if we become incapacitated, as well as some other legal issues raised by serious illness.
TOPICS

Advance Health Care Directives (Living Wills and Powers of Attorney)
Conservatorships
Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances
Emergency Medical Treatment
Organ and Body Donation

RELATED TOPICS

Government Benefits

Disability Insurance
Medi-Cal
Medicare

Inheritance and Wills

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Quicken WillMaker Plus (software for Windows by Nolo), lets you use your computer to create a valid will, living trust, durable power of attorney for finances, health care directive, and other important legal documents.

Living Wills & Powers of Attorney for California, by Shae Irving (Nolo), provides official California forms and detailed instructions to help you prepare your own advance health care directive and durable power of attorney for finances.

The California Courts Self-Help Center offers free publications and forms for California conservators. You can find the Self-Help Center online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp. Click "Seniors" to find the information for conservators.

Long-Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It, by Joseph L. Matthews (Nolo), explains options for people who must find long-term care for themselves or a family member.
ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES (LIVING WILLS AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY)

The right todie with dignity, and without the tremendous agony and expense for both patient and family caused by prolonging lives artificially, has been supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government, and the state legislature.

This individual right also protects someone who wants more extensive care than doctors wish to provide. For example, a doctor may be unwilling to try experimental treatments or maintain long-term treatments on a patient who has only a slim chance of recovering.

In California, you can direct your medical care with a document called an advance health care directive. (Probate Code 4701.) California's advance directive form permits you to do several important things:

Name someone to carry out your health care wishes and make other medical decisions for you. The first part of the advance directive form is called a "durable power of attorney for health care." A power of attorney is simply a legal document that you use to name someone to make decisions for you or to take action on your behalf. The words "attorney" here means anyone authorized to act for you; that person definitely doesn't have to be a lawyer.

A power of attorney is considered "durable" if it stays in effect even after you are incapacitated. Powers of attorney that aren't durable are not valid if you are no longer able to make your own decisions.

You use this durable power of attorney to name the person who will make sure your health care preferences are honored and who will make any other necessary medical decisions for you. This person is called your health care agent. Most people name their spouse, partner, or a grown child as agent. It's best to appoint just one agent and name a backup in case that person is unable to serve. California's advance directive allows you to name up to two alternate agents.

The advance directive gives your agent broad authority to make health care decisions on your behalf, though if you choose, you can limit your agent's authority when you complete your document.

State your health care wishes. You can use the advance directive form to state your preferences for medical treatment in as little or as much detail as you like. For example, you can indicate whether or not your want to receive life-prolonging treatment-such as a respirator or CPR-if you are close to death from a terminal illness, you are in a permanent coma, or your agent (after consulting your doctor) determines that treatment would be more likely to put you at risk than to help you. You can choose from general statements about your wishes, or you can provide more specific instructions about the kinds of treatments you do or do not wish to receive under various circumstances.

To make informed choices about which medical procedures you do and do not want, it may be a good idea to discuss your advance directive with your doctor, if you have one. He or she can more fully explain your options and answer any questions you may have. You will also find out whether your doctor has any medical or moral objections to following your wishes. If he or she will not agree to follow your wishes, consider changing doctors.

Once you've written out your wishes and presented your document to your health care providers, it becomes a part of your official medical record and all medical care providers are required to follow your directions. If a treating physician is not willing to honor your wishes, the physician must transfer you to another doctor or facility that will. If a health care provider improperly refuses to honor your wishes or transfer you to another care facility, your agent or any other concerned person can seek help from a court. A judge can compel the health care provider to comply with your instructions and to recognize the authority of your agent. (Probate Code 4766(e).)

Specify whether you wish to donate organs, tissues, or body parts after your death. If you want to donate any of your organs or body parts after death, the advance directive form contains a place for you to say so. (See Organ and Body Donation, below, for more information on this topic.)

Name the primary physician who will be responsible for your care. If you have an established relationship with a doctor whom you trust, you may want to specify that this doctor supervise your care, working with your health care agent. The advance directive form allows you to do so.

Unless you indicate otherwise, your advance directive becomes effective only if your doctor determines that you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes for care. If you prefer, however, you can allow your health care agent-not a doctor-to decide when to put your document into effect, by checking a box that makes your document effective as soon as you sign it.

To make your advance directive valid, you must sign it in the presence of two qualified witnesses or a notary public. When you obtain your form (see the resources listed below), it should be accompanied by instructions that explain exactly how to complete it and who is qualified to act as a witness.

In most instances, you do not need to consult a lawyer to prepare an advance directive. The form is quite simple and can be obtained, free or for a nominal fee, from a number of sources. Here are a few good ones:

* Living Wills & Powers of Attorney for California, by Shae Irving (Nolo), guides you step-by-step through the process of completing California's official advance health care directive form. Forms are available as tear-outs and on a CD-ROM that comes with the book.
* The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provides advance directive forms and a basic set of instructions for completing them. You can download a form for free from the organization's website or order it over the phone. Call 800-658-8898 or visit the website at www.caringinfo.org.
* Local hospitals may be a good source for advance directive forms. Ask to speak with the patient representative. By law, any hospital that receives federal funds must provide patients with appropriate forms for directing health care; the patient representative may also be able to help you fill them out.

CONSERVATORSHIPS

A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which an adult appointed by a court oversees the personal care or property of another adult considered incapable of managing alone. The person who takes over is the "conservator." The incapacitated person is the "conservatee." Often conservatees suffer from advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, are in comas, or have other serious illnesses.

Depending on the circumstances, the conservatee might not be permitted to make decisions about how his or her money is managed or spent. The conservatee could be denied the right to make his or her own medical decisions, vote, or have access to a car. Conservatorships are also used to prevent other people from taking financial advantage of a person who is unable to manage their own financial affairs.

A conservatorship lasts until the conservatee dies or can resume caring for his or her own daily needs or finances. The court will monitor a conservatorship to ensure that it remains necessary and that the conservator is doing a good job. A conservator who is harming the conservatee or taking unauthorized actions regarding the conservatee's property can be removed from his job. A court must approve the ending of a conservatorship.
Types of Conservatorships
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Table of Contents

1.   Children

2.   Citizens’ Rights

3.   Consumers’ Rights

4.   Copyrights and Patents

5.   Courts, Lawsuits and Mediation

6.   Debts, Loans and Credit

7.   Dogs

8.   Employees’ Rights

9.   Government Benefits

10.  Inheritance and Wills

11.  Landlords and Tenants

12.  Real Estate

13.  Relationships

14.  Serious Illness

15.  Small Businesses

16.  Traffic and Vehicle Laws

      Index

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