At the center of any estate plan are provisions for the handling of your affairs in the event that your health fails. While advanced directives, living trusts, and financial powers of attorney are important tools for addressing these concerns, a vital aspect of your plan is a valid Orange County HIPAA authorization. HIPAA stands for the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The law requires written authorization from a patient before a healthcare provider can release health information. Without access to these medical records, the effectiveness of your other estate planning documents is diminished.
Why should you ask your estate planning attorney to incorporate an Orange County HIPAA authorization into your plan? The following are five significant reasons for including this important tool:
- A valid HIPAA release or authorization allows your family members to access your medical records so that they can make more informed healthcare decisions on your behalf.
- A valid HIPAA release or authorization frees the hospital or other healthcare provider from potential liability for providing your named family members with private and confidential medical records.
- A valid HIPAA release or authorization gives your family members the ability to receive updates about your medical condition.
- A valid HIPAA release or authorization can be included with a living trust in order to permit successor trustees of your trust to obtain medical information about the original trustee in the event of incapacity.
- A valid HIPAA release or authorization also enables your loved one to access the medical bills associated with your healthcare, in order to ensure that these bills are paid.
A HIPAA authorization works hand in hand with a revocable living trust as part of an estate plan. Our guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust - In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes, provides helpful information about how a trust is used as part of a plan. For more information about HIPAA authorizations and creating an estate plan, contact an experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer today at (714) 459-5481.