Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Planning to Protect Your Entire Family in Case of Medical Emergencies

Do you know who is legally authorized to make your critical health care and financial decisions if you are disabled and cannot do so? What about your loved ones? We have heard from people whose elderly parents have had strokes away from home as well as those whose children have been seriously injured while at college. In both situations, because they do not have the proper legal authorization, they were not able to speak to medical personnel on behalf of their parents and children. Without the right planning in place and readily available at all times, these already difficult situations can land you in a disastrous bureaucratic tangle when you and your loved ones can afford it least.

With important new medical privacy laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) becoming more and more strictly enforced by hospitals and medical facilities, making sure you have the proper authorization is more critical than you might think. Without the proper legal authorization your loved ones may not be able to assist you when you need it most. And if you don't have the proper written authorization to assist your loved ones, including your spouse, children, elderly parents and anyone else you may be responsible for, you may not be able to assist in their health and financial decisions when they need you.

Because of HIPAA, it is more critical than ever that you have current and effective health care proxies, HIPAA release forms and durable powers of attorney. Due to issues of law and interpretation, these critical documents should be updated on an annual basis to ensure effectiveness.

Most parents are not aware that medical professional's interpretation of HIPAA laws can prevent you from receiving information about your children's medical condition once they reach eighteen. Hospitals and Student Health Administrations at most colleges are notorious for strictly enforcing these regulations. Some hospitals have even refused to tell parents anything over the phone-including whether or not their college age child has been admitted to the hospital!

If your elderly parents are relying on you to help them make critical medical and financial decisions, make sure that you have current and correct legal authorization readily accessible or you may find yourself cut off from access when they need your help most. For that reason we help ensure our clients have 24/7 access to all of their health care documents.

Even if you have current, enforceable documents, that may not be enough. Do you know how your documents will be accessed if there is an emergency? If they are on a shelf in your home or locked in a vault at your attorney's office, they will not be there for you when you need them most. Make sure you are not shut out of important health care decisions by ensuring twenty-four hour, seven day a week access to your documents and emergency contact information as well as those of your children, parents, grandchildren and other loved ones.

Contact Dennis Sullivan and Associates or attend an upcoming workshop to make sure that your family is protected. Our legal, tax and asset protection experts can help you design a plan to meet your goals and protect those you care about. For more information and to attend an upcoming workshop, please see our website at http://www.dsullivan.com
Dennis Sullivan & Associates
888 Worcester St.
Wellesley, MA 02482


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