If you have not done so already you may want to discuss incapacity planning with an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.
Incapacity planning is important for people of all ages, and while it includes both property and health care issues, the document most people are familiar with is a living will. To see why this is important, look no further than the case of Terri Schiavo.
This young woman fell into a vegetative state after suffering full cardiac arrest while she was in her 20s.
She had not executed a living will expressing her own wishes with regard to being kept alive via the use of artificial life support measures. As a result, a highly publicized court battle ensued between her husband and her parents.
You should also execute durable powers of attorney. With these instruments you select proxies to act in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. Many people will execute a durable medical power of attorney and name someone to make their health care decisions.
You must also consider the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) when you are planning for the possibility of incapacity. This act makes it necessary for you to sign releases to allow people to access your health care information. Your incapacity planning should include a HIPAA authorization so your health care proxy is able to access needed health care information.
You may also wish to include a financial power of attorney or trust to permit a person you choose to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Your financial attorney-in-fact or trustee need not be the same person as your health care proxy.
If you would like to put these important documents in place, simply contact us to set up an appointment: Incapacity Planning Consultation