You never know when a health care crisis may happen and no one wants to imagine the possibility of becoming sick, hurt or otherwise incapable of making your own medical decisions. Yet, it’s important to determine who you would want to make decisions for you if you’re unable to make them yourself. Legal documents exist that allow for you to ensure your wishes are followed and that a trusted individual has the authority to speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself. Specifically, everyone should consider creating a Living Will, Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate, and HIPAA authorization.
The Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate, sometimes known as a health care proxy, is a legal document that you create in advance to indicate who you would like to make medical decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so. It’s a good idea to choose someone who lives in the State or even locally, so there is no delay in them being able to act on your behalf. You can choose a loved one, trusted friend or other family member.
Living will is also known as Advance Directive or Directive to Physicians. A living will is a legal document that expresses your wishes regarding end of life treatment. This may mean you’re terminally, in an end state condition or persistent vegetative state. Your living will will provide specific instructions to your family and doctors when they must make serious health care decisions for you.
Most people are familiar with the health care proxy and living will but don’t consider creating the American Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act or “HIPAA.” As part of your planning for a health care crisis, you will also need a HIPAA authorization that allows your health care surrogate to freely communicate with your doctors and others in the medical field. This authorization is a letter or form authorizing the release of medical information to a third party (e.g., family member, friend).
Planning for incapacity is an important part of your overall plan. Without proper planning, incapacity can lead to unwanted stress on your loved ones and can result in court costs and un-needed bureaucracy to initiate the legal process of declaring you incapacitated. To discuss your goals further, contact our office today to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys. (954) 999-9683
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