In the case of a medical emergency or if you become incapacitated, you should have the requisite Health Care documents prepared to direct your family on how to take care of you. Some of the Health Care Documents you should ensure are in place as part of your estate plan include a Medical Power of Attorney/Health care proxy, a Living Will, a HIPAA Waiver and a Declaration of a Pre-need Guardian.
Planning for these sort of situations can sometimes be difficult. Our attorneys will work with you to ensure that you have the necessary Health Care Documents prepared and that they are designed to fulfill your and your loved one's best interests.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
A "Designation of Health Care Surrogate" otherwise known as a Health Care Proxy, is a document in which you appoint a Health Care Surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you cannot do so. If you become incapacitated, this person will be permitted to make decisions as to your consent for medical treatment and the administration of medication.
A Living Will or an “Advanced Directive” is a document that specifies and informs treating medical professionals whether you want life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn in the event you are suffering from a terminal or irreversible condition. These documents are usually limited to very specific decisions including the provision or withholding of life-sustaining procedures, artificial nutrition, experimental medical treatment, and organ donation. A Living Will may also designate a surrogate to make such decisions for you when you are incapacitated.
Congress passed a law entitled the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) that limits use, disclosure or release of health information. The Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information, typically known as a HIPAA Waiver, authorizes your health care providers to readily use, release or disclose your protected medical information to the person/s you designate as authorized recipients. This document is extremely important as it aids the named agents under your healthcare surrogacy or living will in making the best treatment decisions on your behalf.
Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian
Another standard document included in most estate plans is a Declaration (or Designation) of Pre-Need Guardian. The purpose of this document is to make known who you would like to serve as your Guardian if you ever become incapacitated. This document creates a statutory presumption in favor of appointing the designated pre-need Guardian, but there are some individuals who are automatically disqualified by law (i.e. convicted felons). However, despite the designation, the courts do have authority to appoint a different individual if a court determines that would be in the ward’s best interests.
We cannot predict the future, so our best option is to be prepared for it. Contact us at Morris Law Group, we will carefully guide you through the process of preparing your customized Health Care documents.