A power of attorney, sometimes known as a POA, is put in place to allow another person to handle various matters on your behalf if you become incapacitated. These matters often include healthcare and finances. People have durable powers of attorney in place to prepare for medical emergencies and mental incapacity. When a durable power of attorney is in place, there will be less anxiety and confusion among family members when it comes time to make a serious medical decision on your behalf.

In order for a son or daughter to have a durable power of attorney, there are various documents that you should complete, and there are certain actions that you must take.

A California elder law attorney in your area could assist you with drafting the necessary documentation that will allow your son or daughter to be granted a durable power of attorney. Those documents typically include a HIPAA authorization form, a power of attorney form, and an advance healthcare directive form.

What is a HIPAA Authorization Form?

The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act is a federal statute that puts in place several standards allowing for health information, including medical records, to be private. This law also prohibits medical professionals from sharing details or talking about your health care with others – unless you give the physician express permission to do so in writing. A family caregiver can quickly complete a HIPAA form, and after that happens, a healthcare provider could provide that family member with information about a parent’s health status.

Completing a Power of Attorney (POA) Form

A POA, or power of attorney, is a document that allows a family member to make health decisions on behalf of a loved one if the loved one becomes incapacitated. For example, the loved one might be in a coma or might be mentally unable to make certain medical decisions. At the time a power of attorney is executed, the person granting this power must have sufficient mental capacity.

Completing an Advance Healthcare Directive

Another important document associated with a power of attorney is an advance healthcare directive. This document is sometimes referred to as a living will. The purpose of an advance directive is to delegate decision-making power to someone else regarding end-of-life care. For example, the individual might include a ‘do not resuscitate order’ as part of an advance directive, indicating that he or she does not want life support if the individual’s heart stops, breathing stops, or is comatose.

Granting a durable power of attorney to a close relative helps to ensure that your wishes are fully complied with at the end of your life. A knowledgeable California elder law lawyer in your area will be able to assist with completing these documents carefully and accurately, giving both you and your family members the peace of mind that you need.