Expect The Best But Prepare For The Worst

At any point, each of us could fall into poor health and need help, not just physically, but also to make overall financial and health care decisions. An estate plan allows you to appoint people to do exactly that.

For business and financial decisions, this authority is called a durable power of attorney. For medical and personal decisions, this substitute authority is called a health care proxy.

What Is A Durable Power Of Attorney?

Appointing a durable power of attorney (POA) means you are assigning a health care proxy to make major health care decisions for you, based on your wishes.

A POA document needs to cover the basics such as the person you trust to make these decisions for you. It also must contain language detailing what specific health event might trigger the proxy such as a coma, a traumatic injury, a stroke or a diagnosis of advanced Alzheimer's or dementia. If this happens, it is time for the person you appoint to step up for you.

What Is A Health Care Proxy?

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), federal law protects every patient's health care privacy and restricts a health care provider's disclosure of protected information.

A health care proxy is a person you would appoint to have access to relevant information regarding your health care and who can make medical decisions on your behalf. He or she would not have access to your full medical history.

A health care proxy document should include specific instructions regarding the use or nonuse of medical and life-saving procedures. A copy of the document must also be kept on file at the skilled nursing facility in which you live.

Plan For Your Future Well-Being

The Center for Elder Law & Estate Planning helps families and elderly clients who are facing health issues or want to plan for the future. Call us at 888-784-0864 or contact us online for a free consultation with a lawyer.

We serve Weymouth and Boston, as well as all of eastern Massachusetts.