Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:
Health Care Directive
This document allows you to name a health care surrogate. This will be the individual who you grant the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. A health care surrogate may also be called a health care agent.
In your directive, you can include specific instructions on the health care measures you desire if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These are life and death decisions; make sure your agent is someone you trust. Work closely with an estate-planning lawyer to ensure your directive provides clear guidelines for your agent to follow.
Your health care surrogate will need access to your medical records in order to make educated decisions about your care. To do this, your agent will need a HIPAA authorization. This will ensure he or she has access to your medical records from HIPAA-covered health care providers.
Living Will Declaration
A living will provides specific guidelines for your end of life care. While your health care directive can include provisions for your agent to make certain decisions about your ongoing health care, a living will tells your agent how you would like those decisions made, such as if and when you want life support to be removed, whether you would want hydration and nutrition and what kind of care choices should be made for you, if you cannot make them for yourself. These types of absolute decisions about your life should be included in a living will for extra protection and assurance your desires will be known and honored.
These documents, if carefully crafted, will help you express and enforce your healthcare wishes, even if you cannot speak for yourself. If you want to ensure your preferences for your ongoing and end of life care are respected, contact us to discuss your options today.
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About the Author: Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. She can be reached at (954) 491-8707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.