Like it or not, life can change in an instant. While you may have thought about a will or trust, you may not have realized that those documents won’t help you if you are incapacitated. If you are injured and cannot take care of your affairs, there are legal documents that allow you to name the person you want to handle your business and medical issues. I call them “What If” Documents because they address the “what if” questions that keep you awake in the night. Issues such as “What if I am in a coma and can’t take care of my child?” and “What if I am in an accident and wind up on life support against my wishes?” and “What if I suffer from a debilitating illness and can’t pay my bills or take care of my animals?” I draft legal documents for you so that you can have peace of mind should the unexpected ever happen to you.
If you are incapacitated, you still want someone to handle your financial matters, such as paying bills. If you have a business, you want to make sure that it is taken care of until you can return to work. A Durable Power of Attorney gives you those options. This document allows you to appoint an agent to handle your financial and other affairs if you become incapacitated.
While you hope that if a medical emergency arises, you will be able to speak with the health care provider, sometimes that is not possible. In that event, you need a Health Care Proxy in order to make sure your medical wishes are followed. This document allows someone you have designated to make medical decisions for you should be you become unable to do so.
Many people have heard of a Living Will, which is called an Advance Directive in Massachusetts. This document is a guide for your agent listed on your Health Care Proxy concerning what health measures you want taken should you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Whenever you receive any kind of medical services, you are required to file a HIPAA Release. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1996 to protect the privacy of your health information. This document allows your medical information to be released to individuals or organizations you list in the Release.
If you have animals, you want to make sure they are taken care of if you are unable to do so. A pet trust allows you to name the person you want to take care of your animal, how you want the animal taken care of, and how you want that care to be funded. A pet trust goes into effect immediately upon your incapacitation so you know your beloved animal friends are taken care of without any missed feedings or other care.
Contact me today to discuss any of these documents and to make sure your affairs are taken care of if you are ever incapacitated.