With a toss of caps into the air, high school graduates begin new chapters in their lives, full of exciting possibilities. Is now really the time to think about estate planning documents such as health care directives?
What are Healthcare Directives?
Most graduates are 18 years old or older. Legally adults, they are citizens in their own right, and their parents are no longer guardians. That means that parents are not entitled to any medical information concerning their child.
What if, for example, 18-year-old Ashley goes off to college, when she gets involved in a serious car accident? Ashley’s parents may have difficulty even finding out about their daughter’s condition because HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations protect patients’ privacy rights. And that would mean that, even her parents wouldn’t be allowed to access her information.
To avoid making a stressful situation such as this even worse, you can take steps now. You and your adult children can start with getting a simple form that allows you access to their medical information.
Another option is to create a durable power of attorney for health care. In this case, your child can designate you as someone who can make health care decisions on her behalf, if (as in the case of Ashley’s accident), she is not able to do so on her own.
Your child might also want to have an advance directive for health care. With an advance directive, also known as a “living will,” your child can specify the types of life-sustaining treatments he would wish to receive and also leave instructions regarding end of life decisions.
Unfortunately, we never know when the unthinkable might happen, so now is the perfect time to get an advance directive for health care in order—even for a young, healthy new graduate.
If you’d like to talk more about the best solutions for your situation, call us at 501-221-7776 or email us Lnance@wilsonmillerlaw.com.