Any estate plan will usually include durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and various authorizations for disclosure of your private medical or education records to the designated individuals.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you to authorize another person to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Durable power of attorney covers issues like accepting your mail, signing documents at the DMV, applying for various government benefits, filing and contesting insurance claims, suing somebody on your behalf, dealing with the tax authorities, managing your Netflix account, and so on.
If you are unable to pay your bills and manage your affairs, you may trust the person designated in the power of attorney to access your bank account and make phone calls to your service providers. However, without a power of attorney in place, businesses and financial institutions are legally barred from accepting instructions from anyone but you directly.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Your healthcare power of attorney, otherwise also known as advanced healthcare directive, allows you to appoint a person to make decisions regarding your medical care or treatment, if you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. Your healthcare agent steps in your shoes and can consent or refuse certain medical procedures or medicine administration on your behalf, facilitate hospital transfers, or request a second opinion from a physician not associated with the treatment facility.
Your estate plan can also include a HIPAA authorization, which allows you to authorize specific people to communicate with your healthcare provides about your condition, treatment, and prognosis. Since your medical information and records are protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), without a HIPAA authorization your family may not be able to receive information regarding your medical condition.
Powers of attorney should be a part of every estate plan. We can help you determine what authorizations are necessary in your case and prepare all the required documents.