When people think of estate planning, most think of simply Wills and Trusts. However, there are other supporting documents that are just as important in making sure that your wishes upon either your passing, or your incapacitation, are followed. Some of these documents include Healthcare Power of Attorney, Property Power of Attorney, Living Wills, and HIPAA Authorizations.
HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY
This document specifically focuses on who has the ability to make decisions regarding your healthcare if you are deemed to be incapacitated by a physician. One reason this document is incredibly important is because when someone is deemed incapacitated, that means, according to a licensed medical professional, they cannot make their own decisions, so someone must make those decisions for them. If no one is legally assigned this ability, then that individual is left without someone they trust handling how their healthcare decisions are made (and thus a guardianship case must be initiated in court). This document does allow for the client to make their healthcare power of attorney agent able to act immediately upon signing the document or upon being deemed incapacitated.
PROPERTY POWER OF ATTORNEY
This document focuses on who has the ability to make decisions regarding your property if you are deemed to be incapacitated by a physician. In this instance, property includes not only physical property such as a home or car but also the rest of your assets including any financial accounts. This is important because if you are suddenly deemed unable to make your own decisions, that leaves the possibility of no one being able to legally access any assets that may be needed to help you through this time of incapacitation. Similarly, to the healthcare power of attorney document, there is the ability to allow your agent to act immediately upon signing the document or upon you being deemed unable to make your own decision.
A living will is a document that has specific provisions regarding an individual’s wishes in respect to life support, organ donation, and additional treatments. It allows for you to make the choice of whether you would like to stay on life support or be taken off, whether you would like your organs to be donated when you pass or if you do not want them to be, and whether you would prefer that extraordinary measures be taken regarding your treatment with the possibility of them not improving the situation. This document is especially important because it lays out very specifically the wishes of an individual at the time that they pass when they cannot advocate for themselves. It leaves no questioning as to what to do if life support is necessary or with your remains when you pass.
This document allows individuals to authorize for a medical facility to release information regarding their medical records, bills, and any other related medical documentation to the people listed. Typically, it is suggested that those individuals you have assigned as agents under your healthcare power of attorney be listed here so then if they have to act, they have access to everything they may need to see in order to serve as your agent in the best way possible.
CONTACT THE LIBERTYVILLE ESTATE PLANNING LAWYERS AT JOHNSTON TOMEI LENCZYCKI & GOLDBERG, LLC TODAY
Johnston, Tomei, Lenczycki, & Goldberg, LLC is an established Libertyville law firm highly effective in estate planning matters. Our compassionate and driven team will be there for you the entire time, with open communication and a deep understanding of your rights. Contact us for further details or to schedule your initial consultation. Our first meeting is always free.