In the field of estate planning there are various different acronyms that you may see tossed about. One of these is “HIPAA,” and we would like to provide an explanation with regard to what this is and why it is important to those who are making preparations for the future.
What these letters stand for is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Because of the passage of this act the medical community cannot release your medical records to anyone without your written approval.
This is relevant when you are including an incapacity planning component within your estate plan. You should make sure that you name representatives to make decisions in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation when you are devising an estate plan.
This is typically done through the execution of documents called durable powers of attorney. Standard powers of attorney do not remain in effect should the grantor become incapacitated, but “durable” powers of attorney will indeed remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
However, to be certain that the powers-that-be will provide access to your medical records to your chosen representative you should include a HIPAA release and authorization. If you want multiple people to be able to review your records as decisions are being made be sure to include them when you are creating your authorizations.
Incapacity planning is an important component to any comprehensive plan for aging, and you should definitely take action to execute these important documents if you have not already done so.