Disability and Incapacity Planning
In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to have an estate plan in place to ensure that your wishes are known and your loved ones are able to manage your affairs and take care of your minor children should the need arise. Of particular importance are “incapacity documents” which include a durable power of attorney, health care proxy, HIPAA release, and medical directive/living will, and appointment of a temporary guardian.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes an Agent, appointed by you, to handle your financial affairs. Having an executed Durable Power of Attorney is useful because it allows banks and other institutions to work directly with your Agent on your behalf without requiring court involvement. Your Agent will have the ability to access your bank accounts, consult with financial advisors, and sign paperwork just as you could yourself.
Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that appoints an individual to act as your Agent to make health care related decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions to your health care providers on your own.
A HIPAA release is a document required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It allows your health care agent to obtain protected health information on your behalf in order to make informed decisions about your care and to pay your medical bills.
Medical Directive/Living Will
These documents allow you to outline your wishes with regard to your end of life care. For example, your document can specify that you would not like to be placed on life support in the event that you are near death without reasonable chance of a meaningful recovery. Temporary appointment of guardian for minor children: this document allows you to nominate someone to care for and make decisions regarding your minor children in the event you are unable to do so.