Is Your House In Order? Marilyn Dunston
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
Most people deem information and decisions about their health to be highly sensitive and personal. These feelings have led to the strongest protections available under the law. So when it comes to our healthcare, the law is very strict about who is able to participate in healthcare-related conversations and decisions. Typically, we rarely think about health or end-of-life decisions until a crisis hits–the time when decision-making is the most difficult or impossible for us and our families. Little or no advanced planning may hinder our loved ones’ ability to gain access to the information needed to act on our behalf.
The following forms should be prepared by an attorney who specializes in this area with the acknowledgement and input of family members or caregivers you wish to be involved in your life altering decisions.
If you know how you want your assets and personal treasures disbursed after death, a “Will” is the simplest way to give those wishes legal weight.
Advance Health Care Directive or Living Will
An Advance Health Care Directive or Living Will spells out whether you want to be resuscitated if you stop breathing; whether artificial life support should be used, if a feeding tube should be inserted, authorized treatments, dismissal of doctors or choice of a rehabilitation facility.
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keeps a person’s health information and records private. Unless you authorize in writing someone else to receive that information, it is illegal for doctors to share details about your health with anyone, including family. HIPAA authorization will allow the doctor to share necessary information on your behalf.
Also known as a medical power of attorney…this proxy enables others to make health-care decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions yourself and in the event the first designee is unable or unwilling to serve.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives authority to buy and sell property, use your bank account, pay your bills and/or make decisions for your business.
In addition to legal authorization, it helps if your financial information is available, including bank statements, investment records, car registration, mortgage, stock shares and other important documents that are part of your portfolio.
Once a healthcare emergency strikes, it’s too late to prepare these documents. So, Is Your House in Order? If not, NOW is the time while you are still healthy. And, don’t forget to let your loved ones or caregiver know where these documents are kept.
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