Health is an important factor to consider, especially as you age. Having specific legal medical documents set in place can alleviate the stress of relatives or those who feel obligated to care for you or on your behalf. Learn about various medical documents that can help you plan ahead.
Medical Power of Attorney
Sometimes referred to as a healthcare power of attorney, this is a document that dictates who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Just as you need a durable power of attorney to make financial decisions, you need to authorize someone you trust as your medical power of attorney who can clearly communicate your own wishes about your own medical treatment.
Living Will/Advance Directives
Everyone has probably heard of a living will and advance directives, but did you know they are not just meant for older adults? The living will and advance directives are written instructions regarding preferences for end of life care if you are unable to make your own decisions at that time. Because of the uncertainty of life, you should have a living will/advance directives in place to help caregivers plan the appropriate course of action based on your wishes.
HIPAA Authorization and Release
The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) refers to patients’ privacy over their personal health information. While protecting your medical records is important, you may want to release this information to an authorized person you trust (like your medical power of attorney) so he/she can be more in tune with your health situation when having to make medical decisions.