Estate planning is an important part of making sure that your wishes are honored, and your legacy is preserved. Including certain medical documents can help ensure that your needs and preferences will be respected if you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself. Below are key medical documents to include in your estate plan.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney (MPOA) is a document that allows you to designate someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The person whom you appoint should be someone you trust and who is willing to make difficult decisions for you—this could be a family member or a close friend. Additionally, this document should also include instructions about the types of treatments that should or should not be administered in certain situations.
An advanced directive is another important document to include in your estate plan. This document outlines your wishes about medical treatment in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. The advanced directive can cover topics such as end-of-life care, long-term care plans, and other matters related to health care decision making.
HIPAA Release Authorization
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created to protect patient privacy by restricting access to personal health information. However, if something happens and you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself, it may be necessary for someone else—such as a family member—to have access to this information, so that they can provide appropriate care for you. A HIPAA release authorization grants permission for specific persons or entities (e.g., doctors) to access your private information while protecting it from unauthorized use or disclosure.
Declaration of Guardian
A declaration of guardian is another important document when creating an estate plan. This document allows you (the “declarant”) to name another person (the “guardian”) who will assume legal responsibility over your affairs if you become incapacitated due to age or illness. This may include managing financial affairs as well as physical and mental health concerns—depending on the scope outlined in the declaration of guardian itself.
Creating an estate plan involves many complex decisions, but there are certain medical documents that every person should consider. A comprehensive estate plan should generally include a medical power of attorney, an advanced directive, a HIPAA release authorization, and a declaration of guardian. It is important to consider your healthcare planning as an essential part to your overall estate planning.
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