As the seasons begin to turn, it is important to stress the need to have your advanced directives in place. Advanced directives include:
- A health care proxy;
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release form;
- A living will; and
- Power of attorney.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy designates an agent to make medical decisions in the event an individual becomes incapacitated. The agent responsible for making the decisions on your behalf can either make all of your health care decisions or only certain ones, depending on what is stated on the proxy form.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release Form
A HIPAA release form allows an individual to appoint an agent to retrieve their medical information from healthcare professionals, which can be necessary for paying medical bills and discussing treatment options with their doctors. The HIPAA Privacy Rule, enacted in April of 2001, ensures a patient’s privacy and prohibits the release of any medical information to another unless the form has been signed by the patient to authorize such action.
A living will is a document that specifies an individual’s wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment or the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in the event of a terminal illness or incurable disease that prohibits them from reobtaining a meaningful quality of life. A living will can contain a “do not resuscitate order” (DNR) if the individual wishes to not be resuscitated after withstanding life-threatening conditions, like cardiac arrest. This document can also address multiple medical concerns, such as dialysis, intubation, and organ donation, among others.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney designates an agent to make financial decisions in the event an individual becomes incapacitated. This document is extremely crucial in guardianship proceedings, as it allows the legal guardian of an individual to oversee their finances and make decisions on their behalf.
Executing these documents is essential for every individual, especially those that are approaching old age. Prior to a life-altering condition occurring, it is important to understand the need for these documents to be in place and updated with an individual’s most current wishes. If these forms are not completed prior to an individual becoming incapacitated, it can pose substantial problems for those caring for them when they are tasked with making healthcare decisions on their behalf in the future.
If you or a loved one are thinking about creating or updating advanced directives, it is best to contact an experienced New York elder law attorney, who can advise you and ensure the documents are properly executed. The attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. are skilled in all aspects of elder law and are dedicated to representing clients with diligence and compassion during emotional times. Contact the experienced New York elder law attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. for a consultation by calling them at 866-825-1LAW or vising them at www.thobsonwilliamslaw.com.