A thorough estate plan will include health care documents, such as documents that authorize your physicians to speak to those individuals who you designate as your health care agents, and that designate those individuals whom you would like to make decisions for you, should you not be able to make your own health care decisions. When these documents are drafted, careful thought is put into the selection of agents and particular health care or end of life decisions; however they are often viewed as something that won’t be needed for a long time. While we hope that is the case, it is not always the reality.
Most of us have had an experience at the ER, and realize that visit was not something that could have been predicted. Because of the unpredictability of an emergency, your loved ones may not be with you when it arises. They will want to call or visit the hospital to find out the details of your condition, and they will be able to do so if you have executed a document known as a HIPAA Authorization, allowing your physicians to speak to them. But do they know you’ve given them such authorization, and do they know where the document giving this authorization is located? If the existence of the document is unknown to the authorized agents, cannot be located by them, or even worse, cannot be accessed because it is locked up in your personal safe deposit box which can only be accessed by you during banking hours, then it is essentially ineffective.
This problem can be avoided by providing your agents and family members with copies of your documents, or even better, by creating secure online 24/7 emergency access to the documents. To be best prepared for any emergency situation and to be able to access your documents at anytime, please contact our firm for alternative safekeeping solutions.