Medical Power of Attorney for Adult Children’s Medical Emergencies
October 19th, 2011
Medical power of attorney (also called healthcare power of attorney) allows you to designate another person(s) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious or mentally incapacitated.
My daughter recently turned 20 and is headed to Rome for her fall semester of college. Since she’s an adult, we no longer have authority to make medical decisions or see her medical records unless she gives it to us. So making sure that my wife and I could do these things on her behalf should an emergency arise was a top priority for me. If you have adult children going out on their own, it’s a good idea to take the same steps we did.
First, we drafted four documents that addressed potential medical needs: a healthcare or medical power of attorney, a HIPAA general authorization form, an Ohio Donor Registry registration form and a living will. An online service hosts all four documents so they can be accessed anywhere in the world. Lastly, we established a revocable trust into which her mother and I can easily transfer funds for her use.
All of these steps can be completed with the help of an Ohio estate planning attorney. Let’s take a little closer look at each:
Medical Power of Attorney and HIPPA Authorization
Through a healthcare/medical power of attorney, your son or daughter can authorize you to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. The HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization allows you to get access to your child’s medical records. If your child arrives at the hospital unconscious, in a comma, or otherwise mentally incapacitated, you will be able to get updates on his/her condition and speak with medical personnel on his/her behalf. Without these documents, you may not even be able to find out what hospital your child is at.
Tissue Donor Registration, Living Will and Online Access
My daughter wanted to be an organ and tissue donor, so we completed a registration form with the Ohio Donor Registry. This is an optional step and only needs to be completed if your adult child wishes to be a tissue donor.
A living will, which is also known as an Advance Healthcare Directive, allows your child the opportunity to dictate which medical procedures or treatments he/she wants or does not want if he/she is unable to tell the doctor themselves. Usually it includes instructions on whether to continue life support under certain circumstances.
By putting the medical power of attorney, tissue donor registration, HIPAA Authorization and living will online, your child and his/her doctors will be able to access these important documents anywhere in the world. An Emergency Medical Information Card is given to your child to carry with them so medical personnel know how to access the documents. As an Ohio estate planning attorney, I offer this service free to all my estate planning clients.
Benefits of a Revocable Trust
By establishing a revocable trust for your adult child, you create an easy way to transfer funds for his/her use while still maintaining some control over the money and provide a level of accountability. Funds are easily transferred to a trust online and a debit card can be issued to your child so he/she can access the funds easily. By using a trust, rather than a standard checking account, you can track how your child spends the money and keep them accountable. This tends to discourage unwise spending and helps them develop good spending habits. Again, an Ohio estate planning attorney can help you establish a revocable trust for your adult child.
If you have any questions about revocable trusts, medical power of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, living wills, or online hosting services for medical documents, I encourage you to call us and arrange a Free Consultation regarding your medical power of attorney and other estate planning needs.
Call toll-free at 877-483-6730.