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Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, HIPPAA Releases, & Living Wills

Some of the most important decisions you will make during your life are choosing, designating, and giving directions to those who will speak and act for you regarding your financial affairs, health care treatment plans, permitted procedures, and end of life decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney For Financial Affairs

A Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your agent (who is called your “Attorney-in-Fact). Your Attorney-in-Fact handles your property, financial and legal affairs when you are unable to do so or when you choose not to. Your Attorney-in-Fact will protect your assets and pay your bills until you are able to do so or death occurs.

Under prior laws, an agent’s authority ended when the creator of the power became incapacitated.

“Durable” means that your grant of powers to your Attorney-in-Fact continues after you become incapacitated. However, your Attorney-in-Fact’s powers cease at your death.
While grants of authority under a Durable Power of Attorney may sometimes be immediate, most are delayed until you either become incapacitated or your voluntarily trigger its effectiveness. These are called “Springing Powers of Attorney.”

Selecting your Attorney-in-Fact is very important. Your Attorney-in-Fact must be meticulous about record keeping; have financial management abilities; and be totally trustworthy. It may be wise to consider a corporate fiduciary to serve as your Attorney-in-Fact.

Use of standard forms can be dangerous because they may authorize actions with a high chance for dissipating the your property or altering your estate plan, such as authorizing the creation of a trust, making gifts, or changing insurance or retirement plan beneficiary designations.

We work with you to assure that you make a clear statement of your Attorney-in-Fact’s duties, including the responsibility to act in good faith, within the scope of authority granted, and according to the your expectations or best interests - as well as more specific duties such as preserving your estate plan, keeping careful records, and cooperating with your Health Care Attorney-in-Fact.

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Health Care Power of Attorney

Some of the most important decisions you will make during your life are choosing, designating, and giving directions to those who will speak and advocate for you.

Medical science and technology have made it possible to extend life far longer than it was just 50-years ago. Pneumonia was once called the older person’s friend because, if untreated, the person might slip into unconsciousness and die peacefully ending suffering.

Now pneumonia and other diseases and otherwise life-ending injuries can be treated extending life but causing some to question the quality of continued living. We will ask you to consider whether there are medical situations or conditions where you want more or less continued medical treatment. We make no judgments in whatever you decide is appropriate for you. Rather, we raise the question and help you describe your wishes to your decision makers, loved ones, and health care providers.

Creating an effective Health Care Power of Attorney helps avoid contentious litigation and judicial involvement if there are family disagreements between courses of action during stressful times. Health care providers appreciate having your written directions guiding your agent raising their comfort level and confidence in following health care decisions by knowing this is what you wanted.

In your Health Care Power of Attorney you designate who has authority to speak for you, and directs your agent to give directions to health care providers about your medical treatment. Your selection should be made thoughtfully. For example, does your agent share your religious or moral views? If not, someone else should be designated. We recommend designating only one person to act as your health care agent at a time to avoid disputes and delays. However, we also recommend that you designate an alternate, if your designated agent is unavailable. Your agent should be close to where you live to be most easily available when needed. It is important to talk with your health care agent to assure that they understand their designation, and what you expect your agent to do.

HIPAA Release

Having a universal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) Release is very advantageous.

HIPAA Release forms provided by doctors’ offices and hospitals apply only to that provider, and may not be honored if you are referred or transferred elsewhere.

To further promote coordination among your health care providers wherever you are, and to allow access to medical records, and to access Medicare and health insurance benefits, we will prepare a universal HIPAA Release for you. Generally, your “protected health information” cannot be used, disclosed, or discussed with anyone other than you unless you authorize it in writing. This means that without a valid authorization, your health care agent or loved ones may not be able to obtain information about your condition or deal with health insurance companies in making claims. Through a universal HIPAA Release, health care providers can be authorized to have discussions with each other to coordinate your health care plan, avoid duplicating medical procedures and tests, and talk freely with those whom you have designated to receive this information.

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Advance Directive - Living Will

"We respectfully document your decisions so your Living Will honors your personal and philosophical beliefs and wishes."

An Advance Directive, also referred to as a Living Will, is directed to your health care provider concerning these situations:

  • You are no longer able to make decisions regarding your medical treatment
  • You are in a persistent vegetative state
  • You have an incurable and irreversible condition that, without the administration of life-sustaining treatment, will cause your death within a relatively short time.

Your Living Will directs your health care provider to withhold, withdraw, or continue life-sustaining treatment that is not necessary for your comfort or to alleviate pain. A Living Will allows you to decide in advance whether you wish to be provided with medical equipment and techniques used that may sustain and possibly extend your life, but which may not by themselves cure your condition.

Peace of mind is possible

Let Badura & Wintz Law help you get there