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The Importance of Reviewing Your Healthcare Documents

I think most people probably realize the importance of having some kind of healthcare directive.  Highly publicized cases, such as Terri Schaivo’s, have brought the issue into sharp focus over the last several years.  What we don’t always remember is that these are documents that need to be revisited and updated, just as the financial component of an estate plan does.

Recently, I spoke with a client - who I’ll call Will - about updating healthcare documents.  The catalyst for his phone call was a near-death experience.  Will has been divorced for about two years.  His current partner has been in his life for most of that time.  Will suffered a massive heart attack in February.  His partner was at work when this occurred, and was contacted by the friend that called the ambulance for Will.

Upon her frantic arrival to the hospital, Will’s partner was almost completely stonewalled; Will’s former wife was still listed on all healthcare documents that the hospital had on file.  Because of his failure to update documents, the person who Will wanted most at his side was unable to be there.  None of us like to think about being in a state so vulnerable that we’re unable to communicate our desires.  However, part of a complete plan is evaluating those types of ‘what if’ situations.

Will’s documents have been updated and are now an accurate reflection of what he’d like to have happen in dire circumstances, and who he’d like by his side and to make decisions on his behalf if necessary.  This is only one example of why you need to review your Healthcare Power of Attorney, Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney, and HIPPA documents should be part of an annual review.

Andrea ClausContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. 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.

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