Who should do medical planning?
Everybody at any age.
What is medical estate planning?
Medical estate planning is the process of deciding who can make medical decisions for you if you can’t.
This document instructs the medical staff what you want to happen if you are close to death and/or permanently unconscious. A good living will consists of several parts including a feeding and hydration part, an organ donation part, and what types of treatments are allowed.
Medical Power of Attorney
You appoint an agent to manage your health care and make health care decisions in the case you were to become incapacitated. And people become incapacitated all of the time. An automobile accident that renders you unconscious for two or three days would be an example. You hear in the news all the time about slips and falls, strokes, and heart attacks that render people incapable of making their own decisions.
Without a medical power of attorney, your loved ones will have to seek out a guardianship from the courts to be able to make medical decisions on your behalf.
HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a federal act that in part controls the privacy of your healthcare information. It really locks down who can have access to your medical records without your permission. So that your healthcare power of attorney agent can have access to your medical records, and make good decisions on your behalf, you need a HIPAA waiver in place.
A HIPAA waiver allows other people to have access to your health care records. They will need this in order to make health care decisions on your behalf if you were to be incapacitated or otherwise unable to make your own health care decisions.
Without a HIPAA waiver, your loved ones will have to go to court and seek a decision to allow them access to your past and present medical records. If they must seek a guardianship, then the judge may have to order an evaluation which will just add to the time it takes to get the guardianship.
Why do this type of planning?
- Who do you want making healthcare decisions for you?
- What decisions do you want them to make?
- How much power should they have?
- If you are fatally injured, and incapable of making decisions, what are your desires?