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The Documents You Need in Case of Incapacity or Illness

IncapacityOne of the most vulnerable, and most feared, states of being is incapacity- to be unable to communicate one’s thoughts or wishes with respect to crucial medical decisions.  Cases such as Terry Schaivo’s have also brought to light the kind of turmoil, devastation, and costly litigation the absence of a plan can wreak upon the family of an incapacitated individual.  While there are forces beyond our control that can affect our health and capacity, thoughtful planning can assure that, in the event of incapacity, our wishes are respected.  Creation of the following four documents work toward avoidance of the panoply of issues that surround incapacitation:

  1.  A medical power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.
  2. A mental health power of attorney is a document that allows for the appointment of a trusted family member or friend to make decisions for you in the event that you are incapable of making decisions yourself due to an illness such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  3.  HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a Federal law that sets rules and limitations on who can look at your medical records or receive your health information.  A HIPAA authorization allows you to name the individuals who can access your medical information.  This document generally allows release of information from your health care provider or insurance company to those persons you specified.
  4.  A living will, or healthcare directive to physicians, is a document that allows you to inform medical personnel of your wishes with respect to the use of artificial methods to extend your life in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition.  A living will is used in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes due to some form of incapacity.

All these documents are essential to making sure your wishes are followed in the event you are unable to competently communicate.  The proper execution of these healthcare documents also provides piece of mind, comfort, and guidance to your loved ones.

For more information, schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our estate planning attorneys by calling 888.222.1328 today!

Andrea ClausContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  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.

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