It is a document which expresses your preferences about end-of-life care and authorizes someone to make and communicate medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacity and inability to make such decisions for yourself. Your advance directive can specify the circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged if, for example, you were in a coma with no reasonable chance of recovery.
A power of attorney is another legal document used in estate planning that gives another person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right (powers) to do certain things for you (the principal) in the event of your incapacity and inability to make decisions for yourself. A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited and specific. All powers of attorney terminate upon the principal’s death.
We also recommend including a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release as part of your estate planning documents. A provision of HIPAA prevents doctors from sharing medical information with anyone other than the patient. Therefore, a HIPAA release in the estate plan will grant your agent and anyone else whom you name the ability to discuss your medical situation with your medical care providers.
It’s never too late to create an estate plan, unless you or your loved one has become incapacitated. It is in your best interest to create an estate plan that outlines all of your wishes while you are still of sound mind. The plan should include healthcare directives as well as other emergency documents.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm to schedule your consult today