The Power of Attorney is a document that lets someone make legal decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. There are 3 Power of Attorney documents that you should know about and consider before you need them. When you need them it is already too late.
Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions
This designates a trusted person to make life sustaining decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. This is often referred to as a ‘Living Will’ or ‘Advanced Directive’ because it designates, firmly, what you would like to happen in scenarios where you may find yourself on life support, for example. In addition to advance directives, a Health Care Power of Attorney designates a person to make judgements on your behalf such as:
· Consent or refuse consent to any medical care except any act that violates the law or the wishes you've stated in your living will
· Hire or fire medical personnel
· Make decisions about the best medical facilities for you
· Visit you in the hospital or other facility even when other visiting is restricted
· Gain access to medical records and other personal information, and
· Get court authorization, if required to obtain or withhold medical treatment, if for any reason a hospital or doctor does not honor your living will or the authority of your health care agent.
Power of Attorney for HIPAA Compliance
Pursuant to Federal Regulations, this document designates which people your medical professionals can communicate with regarding your care. If you do not specifically tell your doctor which members of your family or other persons or agents they can speak to, they are not legally allowed to disclose any information to them.
Even if you have a Health Care Power of Attorney. A Health Care POA may not go into effect until you become incapacitated and even if it does it may not contain all the provisions required in a HIPAA Power of Attorney. This means your agents won't be able to get the medical information necessary to determine how to move forward with your treatment and to determine if you have been declared incompetent. This is a catch 22 you do not want your agent to be caught in. With a HIPAA POA, your agent can:
· Access your medical records
· Speak to your medical professionals regarding care
· Speak to insurance and other HIPAA-bound professionals to and obtain information
· Communicate before you are declared incapacitated
Financial Power of Attorney
This document allows a person/agent to act on your financial behalf and to perform tasks such as making sure your mortgage is paid, lights are kept on and bills are paid while you are not able to do so yourself. Your Agent can be designated to do the following:
· Access bank accounts
· Sign income tax returns
· Sell stocks and manage real estate
Many people already have one or all of these Power of Attorney documents drafted 5 or 10 years ago. The law and the requirements necessary to have a valid Power of Attorney change frequently. As such, it is important to have these documents reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney every few years to ensure that your Power of Attorney documents are still valid.
If you have questions regarding which Power of Attorney Documents you may need, please call the office for a consultation at 702-448-4962.
This article was provided for informational purposes and is not legal advice nor does it designate attorney client privilege.