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Don’t Forget Your HIPAA Authorizations in Estate Planning

In the event that you become incapacitated, it will be important for anyone you have named as a power of attorney agent to be able to make decisions on your behalf. 

If you are incapacitated, you are unable to make these decisions for yourself, but without appropriate estate planning documents, appointing someone else to do this, this can create confusion, chaos or even court hearings for your family members.

It’s important to also think about how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act known as HIPAA limits disclosure, release or use of any individually identifiable health information.

Power of attorney agents and a legal heir could be eligible to get access to this information in order to use it to act on your behalf. However, even though there might be other people that you want to be informed about your current health status, it is important to include these people in your estate planning process.

For example, if you have a significant other to whom you are not married, that person is not necessarily entitled to automatically receive information about your health status. If your parents are approved to receive information about your health status, but do not have a good relationship with your significant other or are unlikely to inform your significant other about current condition, this can generate problems.

Make sure that you think about who else should be included as a power of attorney agent when establishing your estate planning documents.


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