Your message contains two questions:
1) whether a Notary Public may provide witnesses for your advanced health care directive; and
2) whether you should appoint an agent for your health care directive.
The answer to your first question is that a Notary Public was correct saying that she could not provide witnesses for you. It is your responsibility to find witnesses for the instrument you issue.
THE FOLLOWING PERSONS MAY NOT ACT AS ONE OF THE WITNESSES:
1. The person you have designated as your agent;
2. A person entitled to any part of your estate after your death under a will or codicil executed by you or by operation of law;
3. Your attending physician;
4. An employee of your attending physician;
5. An employee of a health care facility in which you are a patient if the employee is providing direct patient care to you or is an officer, director, partner, or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility; or
6. A person who, at the time this power of attorney is executed, has a claim against any part of your estate after your death.
2) In regards to your second question re. California Advance Health Care Directive:
The California Health Care Decisions Law, effective July 1, 2000, consolidated previous advance directives into the new Health Care Directive. Advance health care directives allow you to have legal control over your health care treatment in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. California’s Advance Health Care Directive provides an efficient and flexible format for planning your future health care.
Any previous advance directive such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or a Natural Death Act that was valid in California as of July 1, 2022 is still valid. If you completed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care before 1992, it has expired. If you have already executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and/or a Natural Death Act, you should check to see that the forms have not expired and still reflect your wishes.
The AHCD in California allows you to do either or both of the following two things to prepare yourself in the event that you become incapacitated:
1) Appoint a health care agent. The AHCD allows you to appoint a health care agent (also known as “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” or “attorney-in-fact”), who will have the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself.
2) Prepare instructions for health care. The AHCD allows you to make specific instructions for your future health care in the event of any situation in which you can no longer speak for yourself. You may wish not to appoint an agent at this point. The Health Care Directive is now recognized as the legal format for a living will in the state of California. Please note that many hospitals in the USA now suggest you to have both documents.
A completed form must include your name, your signature, the date executed, and the signature of two witnesses or the stamp of a notary public. You will want to keep your original copy in a place where family or friends will find it if needed. You should also give a copy of the AHCD to your primary physician, your agent, your alternate agent(s), family members, and any health facilities where you are receiving care. If you are going to be admitted to a hospital or institution, be sure to bring a copy of your AHCD. All copies of the AHCD have the same effect as the original.