Do you have a comprehensive estate plan that fully accounts for your health-related needs? Most people do not. One national survey conducted by Gallup found that only 44 percent of Americans have a will—let alone a comprehensive estate plan. In this article, our San Antonio estate planning attorney highlights the key healthcare documents you need as part of an estate plan.
Three Healthcare Documents That Should Be In Your Estate Plan
- A Living Will (Advanced Medical Directives)
A living will (directive to physicians, advanced medical directive, advance healthcare directive, personal directive) is an estate planning document that you can use to provide specific instructions regarding your medical treatment. The purpose of a living will is to ensure that your wishes are known even if you are not in a physical or mental state to share them. In Texas, you have the right to create a living will.
For the most part, living wills are used to express wishes related to end-of-life care and other similar treatment. During these times, it is not always possible for a vulnerable person to express themselves. A living will allows you to get your wishes down on a clear and legally enforceable document. If you have any specific questions about advanced medical directives, our San Antonio estate planning lawyers are more than happy to help.
- A Medical Power of Attorney
While a living will is extremely useful for expressing certain medical/healthcare wishes, it is generally not enough to provide complete protection. The reality is that it is impossible to fully anticipate all of your future health-related needs. By appointing a trusted family member or loved one as your medical power of attorney, you can be sure that a responsible person will be there to look out for your best interests if you are not able to make your own medical decisions.
You can set up a healthcare power of attorney so that it only takes effect in the event you become incapacitated. The person who holds your healthcare can be the same person who holds your general power of attorney. Alternatively, you can separate these powers—granting one person responsibility for financial/legal matters and other person responsibility for health matters. It is your decision. At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our law firm is committed to providing personalized estate planning guidance to people and families in Texas. We can help you with any questions or concerns you have regarding powers of attorney.
- A HIPAA Authorization Form
Would your family members be able to get access to your medical records in the event that you became incapacitated? It can be an issue for a lot of people. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), doctors and insurance companies must protect the confidentiality of sensitive health records. In general, this federal law helps to protect the privacy of patients. However, it can create challenges when a person becomes unable to manage their own care.
The good news is that there is a relatively simple estate planning solution: You can sign a HIPAA authorization form to grant trusted family members the access to certain medical records. A HIPAA authorization form is an important healthcare-related estate planning document. If you want more information about HIPAA authorization forms, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Texas estate planning attorneys.
Schedule A Confidential Consultation With A San Antonio Estate Planning Lawyer
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our San Antonio estate planning attorneys are compassionate advocates for people and families in Texas. If you have any questions about the healthcare documents you need for an estate plan, we can help. Give us a call or contact us now for your confidential initial appointment with an experienced lawyer. From our legal office in Selma, we serve communities throughout the region, including in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Schertz, Windcrest, Terrell Hills, HIll Country, Garden Ridge, and Alamo Heights.