Attorney Megan Bartholomew, discusses Three Healthcare Documents You Shouldn’t Leave Home Without, for our Smart Counsel for Lunch Series.
Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s edition of Smart Counsel for lunch! My name is Megan Bartholomew and I am an associate attorney at the law firm of Samuel, Sayward & Baler, located in Dedham, MA. We concentrate our practice in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, probate, and elder law.
This week, we want to let you know about 3 legal documents you should never leave home without!
- Health Care Proxy: this document appoints your health care agents, who can make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. This document does not go into effect until a doctor rules you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions by yourself. This document allows your health care agent to make decisions regarding your care, such as what type of treatment you are receiving and where you should be while receiving that treatment. Generally, you would appoint one person as your primary Health Care Agent and then a back-up person if your primary is unavailable.
- HIPAA: this document allows the individuals named on it to receive medical information about you. This does not make them decision makers, but it does allow them to check with your doctors about medical records or types of care you may be receiving. This document is especially important in times of crisis because physicians cannot release this information to you without this document.
- Living Will: this document expresses your wishes in regards to end-of-life care. This document is non-binding, but it expresses to your health care agent that you do not want extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life if a doctor rules there is no chance of recovery. This document can provide guidance to your Health Care Agent in this difficult decision.