Legal Notes: The Importance of a Healthcare Proxy

The Importance of a Healthcare Proxy in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, it is of paramount importance to have proper documents in place in the event that you fall seriously ill. A health care proxy is a legal document in which you to designate an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Oftentimes a health care proxy will include a place for you to outline your wishes regarding medical treatment preferences and end of life decisions, which is helpful guidance to your agent who may be faced with difficult decisions. Another important document that works in conjunction with the health care proxy is a HIPAA release, which allows your health care agent to access your medical records.

If you become incapacitated without these documents in place, your loved ones will be left with no option except to file a petition in the probate court to become your legal guardian.You must act instead of react. The guardianship process can be time intensive, expensive and stressful for families who are already dealing with a difficult situation. Depending on the nature of the emergency, getting the proper guardianship authority in place to make all necessary decisions may take several hearings. In addition, any court proceeding requires giving notice to interested parties, which leaves the door open for objections, conflict, and further delays. By executing a health care proxy and HIPAA release prior to any medical emergency, you have the opportunity to name an agent, alternates, and outline your wishes.

Please call Alex or Amy today at 508-660-0331 for a free consultation. You'll be glad you did!