Frequently Asked Questions



IMPORTANT: The following information is intended to provide a basic understanding of the Advance Health Care Directive Registry and is not intended to provide legal advice. To ensure that all issues are considered and addressed appropriately, you should consult with private legal counsel.



What is the Secretary of State’s Advance Health Care Directive Registry?

The Secretary of State’s Advance Health Care Directive Registry permits a person who has an advance health care directive (or a similar document) to "register" it with the California Secretary of State. The registration will include information regarding the location of the advance health care directive or a copy of the advance health care directive itself.


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Am I required to register my advance health care directive with the Secretary of State for my advance health care directive to be valid?

No. Registering an advance health care directive is entirely voluntary.


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If registration is voluntary, then why do it?

By registering your advance health care directive, health care providers and other authorized individuals may be able to obtain needed information regarding your advance health care directive. This could be important if you or your family members are unable to provide this information. For example, suppose you are out-of-town and are admitted in an unconscious state to an emergency room. If you have registered your advance health care directive with the California Secretary of State, you are likely to have in your wallet or purse a card indicating that you have registered your advance health care directive. By following the instructions on this card, emergency room personnel will be able to obtain information regarding your advance health care directive from the California Secretary of State.


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How do I register my advance health care directive?

Complete the Registration of Written Advance Health Care Directive (pdf ~140KB) form, print, sign, and date the form, and mail the completed form to: Secretary of State, Advance Health Care Directive Registry, P.O. Box 942877, Sacramento, CA 94277-0001 with the applicable filing fee. Please note, the registration form cannot be filed online.


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Is there a fee for registering my advance health care directive?

There is a $10.00 fee for registering your advance health care directive with the California Secretary of State. There is no fee for changing information on the registration form or revoking the registration. If you register a new or amended advance health care directive, the $10.00 fee applies.


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Why do you ask for my social security number or other personal number on the registration form?

The law requires that we ask for this personal information in order to ensure that we can positively identify you as the person about whom information is requested by an authorized source (such as health care providers).


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What is an example of "Other Identifying Number Established by Law and State or Country Issuing"? Section 2(c) of Registration Form)

An example would be the number on an Identification Card issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.


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What if information on my registration form changes? What do I need to do?

If information on the registration form changes (for example, you have changed your address or the location of your advance health care directive), you need to file an amendment. You should use the same Registration of Written Advance Health Care Directive (pdf ~140KB) form, but check the "Amendment" box and follow the instructions. There is no fee for amending the registration form on file with the Secretary of State.


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What if I amend or revoke my advance health care directive that is registered with the Secretary of State? What do I need to do?

If you amend or revoke your registered advance health care directive, you need to complete a new Registration of Written Advance Health Care Directive (pdf ~140KB) form. Check the applicable box on Item 1 of the form and follow the instructions. If a new advance health care directive is registered, including an amendment to the prior registered advance health care directive, the $10.00 fee will apply.


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Who is authorized to obtain information regarding my advance health care directive?

Only you, your health care providers, your public or court-appointed guardian or conservator, and any agent designated in your current advance health care directive have access to your registry information. They must provide verification of their identity and their right to have the information about your advance health care directive. All requests for information must be in writing.


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Advance Health
Care Directive Registry (AHCD)




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