Sometimes the fact that you are married is important when it comes to certain legal and tax issues. For healthcare matters the law doesn’t take into account whether you are married or not. I have been married for 23 years, but unless I am nominated by my husband on his various healthcare documents, I would be unable to make his medical decisions or receive his medical records should he become incapacitated.
Everyone over the age of eighteen must nominate someone through a set of legal documents to be able to have these communications with the medical community. If this simple planning is not done, your loved ones will have to petition the court and ask to be your guardian. This legal process is known as a guardianship proceeding, which is very costly and often times humiliating to have to go through.
Here are the four legal documents that are necessary to avoid a guardianship:
1) Healthcare Power of Attorney – nominates individual(s) to step in on your behalf to speak with the doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff member and make the necessary decisions regarding your care.
2) Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney – allows the nominated individual(s) to admit you to a secure health facility for mental health issues, such as, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
3) Living Will – outlines your end of life wishes, such as not wanting to be kept alive through artificial means; or wanting to be kept alive forever.
4) HIPAA – lists all the individual(s) that you would like to be able to receive your healthcare information; such as being able to receive your medical records and obtaining updates from the medical professionals who handle your care.
Approximately 70% of Americans fail to do this simple planning outlined above. Ask yourself the question – when is the best time to plan for a catastrophe, before it happens or after? No one knows if they will become incapacitated, so planning today will ensure that your family avoids unnecessary heartache and expense if you are unable to make your healthcare decisions.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.