Whether you’re concerned about COVID-19, the flu, or something more catastrophic, there are three health care documents everyone needs. They are a living will, a health care proxy, and a HIPPA authorization.
Your living will provides direction on various medical treatments, life-prolonging measures, and end-of-life procedures. It details your health care decisions should you become unable to communicate your wishes. Having this legal document takes the burden of difficult decision off your family. In addition, it ensures your wishes are carried out. While state laws dictate the form, content, and enforceability of your living will, it can provide peace of mind.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf. Like a living will, your health care proxy becomes effective if you are unable to communicate your decisions. When identifying your health care proxy, keep these best practices in mind:
- Does the person have the emotional ability to carry out your wishes?
- Talk with the person named your health care proxy (HCP) and your family about your wishes. Be clear when in comes to ventilators, respirators and end of life procedures.
- Keep a copy of your HCP on file with your primary care doctor and your local (or preferred) hospital.
- Keep a small card in your wallet with the name and number of your HCP.
- Make sure your HCP is easily accessible. A home safe or electronic version is preferable to a safe deposit box.
- If you’re hospitalized give the admitting clerk a copy of your POA and/or have someone bring a copy.
The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Authorization allows a third party access your personal health information. In most circumstances, the third party your health care Power of Attorney (POA). This waiver can be customized to allow some information to be shared while keeping other information private.
It should be noted your living will, health care proxy, and HIPAA authorization are legal documents. Maestro Wealth doesn’t provide legal advice or services. We advise you seek the help of a qualified Estate Planning attorney to create or modify these documents. If you don’t already have one, we will be happy to put you in touch with an estate planning attorney.