There are over 130 million people throughout the the United States who have a chronic illness. By the time 2020 arrives, there will be almost 157 million people in the country living with a chronic illness. People who have a chronic illness should make sure that their estate plan properly addresses the issues that come with health and aging complications.
The estate planning documents for the chronically ill should be completed as soon as possible after people have received a diagnosis. Depending on the progression of their illness, their ability to fully comprehend and sign legal documents may be impaired. The documents will be no different that the documents needed for the estate plans of most people. However, they should be modified to effectively answer the challenges they may face.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was created in 1996 to establish requirements regarding the disclosure of protected health information, and it prohibits unauthorized parties from having access to it. However, with a HIPAA release, individuals can give trusted parties access.
The HIPPA release should be in written form and should state that the person who is providing the authorization is doing so of their own free will. It should also detail the health information that can be disclosed. Individuals can permit the disclosure of their complete medical history or just a few certain items.
An attorney who practices estate planning law may advise clients who are facing certain medical challenges what types of legal documents should be in their estate plans to ensure that their wishes regarding medical and financial issues are honored. Assistance may be provided with drafting powers of attorney, HIPPA releases, and living wills.