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Advance Directive (also called a medical directive, a physician’s directive, a written directive, medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney for healthcare or a living will) is used to plan for future health care decisions. Unlike a Last Will & Testament, your Advance Directive protects your interests while you are living.
Within the Advance Directive you will designate a person to make healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated, designate a healthcare proxy (also called a proxy directive) a person to make healthcare decisions regardless of a person’s incapacity, and a living will to express a person’s desire regarding the use of extraordinary measures (life sustaining treatment) to extend her or his life when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.
HIPPA guidelines, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, protect the privacy and confidentiality of your medical records. HIPPA also limits ability of your family members to gain access to your medical records if you become seriously ill. Your Health Agent can use your Advance Directive to access medical records in accordance with HIPPA. This is common for adult children caring for elderly parents. Don’t wait until a medical provider requests a copy of your Advance Directive, by that time you may no longer be considered legally competent to execute an Advance Directive. If that’s the case, your family will need to pursue Guardianship, which can be an expensive and long process.
Life threatening illness affects not only you but your entire family. The final months, weeks and days are of your life will be extremely hard on your family members. Making your healthcare wishes known (i.e., when to “pull the plug”) will ease the burden on your family. The Pinder Plotkin Legal Team knows how difficult these decisions are; contact us for a free consultation.
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