medical staff speaking with patient about hipaa in fort worth-dallas texas
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By Carey Thompson
Founding Attorney

When considering your future, have you thought about who will make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so? Estate planning isn’t just about assets; it also encompasses vital medical directives. Integrating HIPAA authorization into your plan ensures your healthcare preferences are respected and your private information remains protected. Here we will explore how medical directives and HIPAA authorization interconnect.

The Use of Medical Directives in Estate Planning

Medical directives, an important element of thorough estate planning, empower you to dictate your healthcare choices in advance. These legal documents come into play if you’re incapacitated, ensuring that your medical and end-of-life preferences are respected. They typically include a living will, which outlines your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment, and a medical power of attorney, appointing someone to make decisions on your behalf. By incorporating these directives into your estate plan, you not only safeguard your personal healthcare choices but also provide clarity and guidance to loved ones during emotionally challenging times. This foresight spares your family from making tough decisions without knowing your preferences, bringing peace of mind to all involved.

The Role of HIPAA in Medical Decisions

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) plays a key role in medical decisions, particularly in how personal health information is handled. This federal law ensures the confidentiality and security of your medical records, requiring healthcare providers to strictly control who has access to your information. In estate planning, understanding HIPAA’s implications is crucial. Without proper authorization, even your closest family members may be barred from accessing your medical information, complicating decision-making in critical times. This is where HIPAA authorization integrated into your estate plan becomes essential. It allows you to designate individuals who can receive your health information, thereby facilitating informed decision-making by your appointed healthcare proxy or family members, in line with your wishes and best interests.

Integrating HIPAA Authorization into Your Estate Plan

  • Identify a Healthcare Proxy: Start by choosing a trusted individual as your healthcare proxy. This person will be granted access to your medical information under HIPAA, enabling them to make informed decisions about your health care if you are unable to do so.
  • Draft a HIPAA Release Form: Work with a legal professional to draft a HIPAA release form. This document will specify which health information can be disclosed and to whom, ensuring your proxy has access to necessary medical records while maintaining your privacy.
  • Incorporate into Existing Estate Plan: Integrate the HIPAA release into your existing estate plan. This step ensures all your medical, legal, and financial directives work cohesively, providing a comprehensive approach to your future planning and care.
  • Review and Update Regularly: Regularly review and update your HIPAA authorization. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, or changes in relationships may necessitate adjustments to ensure your current wishes and trusted individuals are accurately reflected in your plan.

Potential Challenges and How We Can Help

Integrating HIPAA authorization into an estate plan can present several challenges. Understanding the legalities of HIPAA compliance can be complicated, and ensuring that all components of your estate plan align correctly requires careful attention to detail. Additionally, life changes may necessitate frequent updates to your plan, which can be easily overlooked. The Law Office of Carey Thompson provides guidance to simplify this process, ensuring your medical directives and HIPAA authorizations fit into your overall estate plan. We stay abreast of legal updates and will advise you on necessary adjustments, ensuring your wishes are always accurately represented and legally sound.

Contact an Experienced Fort Worth-Dallas Texas Estate Planning Attorney

If you’re looking to ensure your medical directives and HIPAA authorizations are properly integrated into your estate plan, the Law Office of Carey Thompson is here to assist. Contact us today to secure your future with tailored, professional guidance and peace of mind.

About the Author
Carey Thompson has been practicing Social Security Disability Law Since 2008 after he graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M school of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  While at Texas Wesleyan he served on Law Review.  Prior to going to Law School, Mr. Thompson was a High School Band Director for four years using his degree in Music Education from Michigan State University.  Prior to Attending Michigan State, he attended Aledo Schools from Kindergarten to graduate.  Mr.Thompson feels strongly about serving the people of Tarrant County.