Who Will Make Health Care Decisions On Your Behalf?
A Health Care Directive is a document that directs medical treatment and medications you would want to receive when you become disabled and cannot express your own wishes.
When You Become Disabled
I say "when you become disabled" rather than "if you become disabled" because, frankly, every one of us will be disabled at some point in our lives. It may be the last twenty minutes of our life or the last twenty years. Also, we may be disabled for a day or a week and then recover our ability to make decisions on our own. That's why a Health Care Directive is so important.
The focus of a Health Care Directive is that the patient designates another person to make decisions for him or her when the patient is disabled.
Not All Are Created Equal
Now, not all Health Care Directives are created equal. For example, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (also known as HIPAA) can significantly affect how a hospital or clinic will interpret a person's Health Care Directive. It's important to make sure that your Health Care Directive is in compliance with HIPAA.
Another important thing to do is to make sure that your Health Care Directive is delivered to your doctor or clinic. A carefully drafted Health Care Directive has no effect if it's sitting in the lawyer's office or at home in your desk when it is needed at the hospital.
Lastly, there are different laws concerning Health Care Directive in other states. This means it's important to have the Health Care Directive written in such a way that it's valid in all 50 states. It should have the proper provisions, so that it is valid whether you need medical treatment here at a clinic in Minnesota, or in other states like California or Florida.
When it comes to a Health Care Directive, "one size" does not fit every circumstance. All Health Care Directives are not created equal. They serve a vital part in a person's estate plan, and should be crafted carefully to protect you when you become disabled. It's important that these vital decisions are made now when you are fully alert and aware of your choices.
An Attorney You Can Trust
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. He can help you plan for the future by creating a Minnesota Estate Plan. For more information, please visit http://www.mnestateplan.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.