topic | life planning - medical directives

In cases of incapacitation, two directives should be in place:

  • Appointment of someone to make medical decisions (commonly known as a Medical Power of Attorney)
  • Wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatment (known in some states as a Living Will).

Depending upon the state of residence, these directives may be separate, or combined as a single Advance Directive. These directives are important near end-of-life, and to protect a person (and the estate) at any time there is an unfortunate accident resulting in a coma, or a vegetative status. Absent these directives:

  • it may be unclear who can act on the individual's behalf in case of incapacitation.
  • an individual may need to make difficult medical decisions, at a stressful time, without the benefit of guidance.

Best Practices

Have a College Student?  The HIPAA (Health Information Portibility and Accountability Act) of 1996, prohibits disclosure of medical records or healthcare decisions for an incapacitated child unless the parent is an authorized agent.  A completed HIPAA authorization form is one way to designate an agent.  But a better choice may be the state specificAdvance Directive discussed in this Topic.

Best Practices

Create medical directives NOW! Seek the advice of an estate attorney to complete these documents.