Take Your Health Care Wishes with You

Take Your Health Care Wishes with You

Your health care powers of attorney are one of the most important pieces of your estate plan, but in an emergency, they are only useful if they are accessible. A new smartphone app now lets you carry health care information for you and your loved ones with you wherever you go. The My Health Care Wishes app from the American Bar Association lets you store pdf versions of your health care power of attorney or appointment of health care representative along with the contact information for the individuals named in those documents. You can also store copies of any POST (Physician’s Orders on Scope of Treatment) forms, do not resuscitate orders, or your Five Wishes worksheet, if you have completed one.

If you are a caregiver for a parent or other family member, storing that person’s documents with this app means that they will always be available. In addition, you can store other important information such as medication lists, allergy information, and insurance information. Password protection within the app keeps your information secure, even if your phone is compromised.

The app will also remind you to review your information annually to make certain your wishes and medical data are still up to date. More information about the app is available at My Healthcare Wishes App.

For more information on health care powers of attorney, POST forms, or Five Wishes worksheets, contact the estate planning attorneys at Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP.

Call 574.232.3538 to make an appointment to talk to one of our estate planning and elder law team.

Author: Jennifer L. VanderVeen is a certified elder law attorney (CELA) at Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP where she counsels clients on long term care planning, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits applications, guardianships, special needs trusts, and complex estate planning issues. Jennifer frequently speaks to community groups on caregiver responsibilities and caregiver burnout.

You can contact Jennifer by calling 574.232.3538 or by email jvanderveen@thklaw.com.

Disclaimer: The THK Legal Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In no case does the published material constitute an exhaustive legal study, and applicability to a particular situation depends upon an investigation of specific facts. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Indiana Changes Healthcare Decision-making Laws

Indiana Changes Healthcare Decision-making Laws

Jennifer L. VanderVeen, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Tuesley Hall Konopa, South Bend INOn March 13, 2018, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a new law which, at long last, creates a hierarchy for healthcare decision-making in Indiana. However, while the law clarifies who can make healthcare decisions for an incapacitated individual, it does not eliminate the need for all adults to sign a health care power of attorney.

According to the new statute, the following individuals may make healthcare decisions for an incapacitated person, in order of priority:

  1. Spouse
  2. Any adult child
  3. Any parent
  4. Any adult sibling
  5. Any grandparent
  6. Any adult grandchild
  7. Any other adult relative; or
  8. A friend who meets certain conditions

In many of these categories, there is still the possibility that more than one person could have equal decision-making authority. For example, an individual with no living spouse and four children would have a pool of four people who could make health care decisions. Unless all are present and in agreement, it is unlikely that a medical provider would accept the decision being made, for fear of getting contradictory opinions from the other children. An individual could also face the situation where an only child who has been estranged from the parent would be placed in the position of making healthcare decisions.

A properly drafted and executed health care power of attorney can alleviate these concerns by ensuring that only people you trust and who know your beliefs and wishes are authorized to make health care decisions for you. Anyone over the age of 18 should have health care documents in place and should talk to their designated decision-makers about their wishes.

Disclaimer: The THK Legal Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In no case does the published material constitute an exhaustive legal study, and applicability to a particular situation depends upon an investigation of specific facts. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.