Whether you have any current medical conditions or not, it’s important for you to take adequate steps in advance so you and your family can be prepared in case of a medical emergency. Preparing key legal documents that will be useful in case of such an emergency should be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you are reaching retirement age or have current or ongoing medical conditions. Here are three key documents you will need to prepare as part of your medical contingency plans.
Powers of Attorney
When you make a power of attorney you select someone else who has the legal authority to act on your behalf. These powers can come into effect whenever you choose, though many people choose to give authority only if they become incapacitated. Powers of attorney are often split into medical and financial, allowing you to pass medical decision-making rights to one person and financial decision-making rights to another.
If you do become incapacitated you can still express your medical desires to your healthcare providers and your family through a Living Will, sometimes called a medical directive. The Living Will, unlike a Last Will and Testament, is designed to be used when you cannot communicate and has nothing to do with passing on your property.
Any time you want someone else to make medical decisions for you, you’ll want to ensure you include a HIPAA release. Without this release your doctors may not be legally allowed to tell your family or medical agent about your private healthcare information. If the HIPAA release is not a part of your healthcare powers of attorney, you’ll need a separate document that can accompany the other elder care documents.