Incapacity planning is an important component to any comprehensive long-term plan. The fact is that people generally suffer some type of decline before passing away, and others become incapacitated due to accidents or unexpected catastrophic illnesses.
Given the fact that it is very possible that you will indeed become incapacitated at some point in time it is rather reckless to go through life without making any preparations for this contingency.
It should be noted that people are routinely living into their 80s and beyond these days, and some 40% of people who are at least 85 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Of course this is not the only cause of incapacity, so we are talking about something that is quite relevant to all of us.
Advance health care directives are part of the plan. Durable powers of attorney are directives that you use to empower individuals that you select to make health care and financial decisions in your behalf if it becomes necessary.
There is also the matter of a HIPAA release. This acronym stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act prohibits the medical community from releasing health care records unless you have given someone authority to view them by signing such a release.
Your health care proxy is going to have to know your medical condition to be able to make decisions in your behalf so you would want to release the information to this individual.
It is also possible that he or she may have to bring these records to a physician who would determine whether or not you are truly incapacitated. The physician could not make a determination without access to the medical records.
If you have not yet planned ahead for the possibility of incapacity simply complete this form to request a free consultation:
The Augulis Law Firm is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.