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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney- Your "Living" Estate Plan Documents

All of your estate planning documents are important.  However, maybe none more so than your Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney.  Why?  Because these documents are operative while you are alive (rather than upon your passing).

What is a Health Care Proxy?

            A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that names an agent to make health related decisions for you if you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.  The document will often name an alternate agent to act in the event your primary agent is unable or unwilling to act.  HIPAA, a federal privacy law that prohibits access to your medical records, should be waived as to your agents named on your Health Care Proxy either in the Health Care Proxy document itself or in a separate legal document.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

            A Durable Power of attorney is a legal document that names an agent to make legal and financial decisions for you in the event you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.  The document will often name an alternate agent to act in the event your primary agent is unable or unwilling to act

What are the consequences of not having  a Durable Power of Attorney or a Health Care Proxy?

If you do not have a Health Care Proxy and/or a Durable Power of Attorney and someone needs to make a medical, legal or financial decision for you, a friend or family member would have to apply to the court to act on your behalf.  This may not be the person you would want to make decisions for you.  In addition, the process can be time consuming and costly and can be easily avoided by putting these two very important documents in place ahead of time.




Durbin & Veglia assists clients with Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Special Needs Planning, Asset Protection, Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Probate & Estate Administration and Real Estate throughout Worcester County and the Metro West Area.



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