Why Health Care Power of Attorney is Important
Per definition, the unexpected can happen at any time. Although you will automatically be involved in the health care decisions of your spouse and minor children, the same is not true for other members of your family. What if something were to happen to your adult child? Or your sibling who hasn’t yet married?
Designate Power of Attorney Now
Ensuring you know who will get information about each family member’s health care and make medical decisions on their behalf is extremely important. Before your children go off to college, discuss health care power of attorney and ask them to meet with your family attorney to complete all relevant documents. This way, your adult children will have someone in their corner if the worst happens, and you will have peace of mind.
Remember that once your child turns 18, they are an adult in the eyes of the law. If you do not complete the correct documents, you will not be entitled to information about their health, finances, or education. Even in emergencies, doctors cannot legally give you medical information about another adult unless you have written permission. It does not matter if that adult is your child.
To get started on your case, call our firm today.
When Medical Power of Attorney Is Relevant
Fortunately, health care power of attorney is only relevant in medical emergencies. When you and your family members sign medical power of attorney documents, you are doing so with the hope that you will never have to use them.
Health care power of attorney gives you the power to make medical decisions for designated family members when those family members are unable to do so themselves.
You may need to speak for a family member if they are in a coma or otherwise incapacitated – or if complications emerge during surgery when your family member is under anesthesia.
If your child attends school out of state, you will need to have medical power of attorney set up in both your home state and the state where your child goes to college.
What About HIPPA?
HIPPA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The law is designed to protect sensitive patient health information. Under HIPPA, doctors cannot disclose health information without a patient’s consent – except to designated entities.
If every parent’s nightmare happened, and your adult child was to get in a car accident, for example, the doctor would not be able to give you updates about their status or treatment – unless your child signed a HIPPA authorization to give you access to this kind of information.
While your child may want to protect their privacy, you should discuss signing a HIPPA authorization. Your child can sign a full release or set limits on what can and cannot be shared.
Discuss Estate Planning as a Family
No age is too young for an adult to start thinking about – and planning for – their future, especially because emergencies can occur at any time and place. As soon as your child turns 18, and before they go off to college, schedule a meeting with your attorney to discuss what documents you may need to sign and why.
At Oak City Estate Planning, we offer a simple 4-step process to help your family plan for the future. We tailor our services and solutions to your situation and put the plan in your hands. While Attorney Lars Kissling will use more than 30 years of legal experience to advise you, you and your child will ultimately make all the important decisions – and we cannot stress enough how important estate planning is for every member of your family.
Call us at (919) 975-5359 or contact us online to sign up for a vision meeting today and discuss your estate plan!