With her husband and parents feuding to the bitter end and beyond, Terri Schiavo died 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute that engulfed the executive, congregational and judiciary branches of our government.

The ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE or POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE is well established in the California Probate Code. You may name another, your spouse, children or others as agent and an alternate to make health-care decisions for you while you are still capable. Unless the form you sign limits the authority of your agent, your agent may make all health-care decisions for you.

The form lets you give specific instructions about any aspect of your health care with choices for you to express your wishes regarding the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of treatment to keep you alive, as well as the provision of pain relief. You may also express an intention to donate your bodily organs and tissues following your death and give the agent authority regarding autopsy.

The ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES need to be signed, dated and notarized. You may wish to give a copy of the form to your agent, physician, health-care provider(s) and/or institution. You should talk to the person you have named as agent to make sure that he or she understands your wishes and is willing to take the responsibility.