Everyone over 18 needs three essential legal documents to be prepared for whatever the future may hold: a health care proxy, a HIPAA Release, and a durable power of attorney. If you neglect to set up these documents, the aftermath could be both emotionally and financially straining for everyone involved – just look at this example.
Hypothetical: The Midnight Call
You get a call in the middle of the night: Your son fell down the stairs at a party and is on the way to the hospital. Its every parent’s nightmare—but it gets worse. When you arrive at the hospital, the doctors won’t speak to you. Since your son is 19, his healthcare information is private, and your son could not grant permission for the doctors to share the information with you before he slipped into unconsciousness. As the doctors begin to navigate his care plan, there is no one assigned to making decisions on his behalf, so you can’t guide the doctors onto the path you know your son would want.
Over the next few weeks, as your son is still recovering from his traumatic brain injury, his hospital bills continue to roll in. His student loan payments are due, his rent needs to be paid, and is car payment is a week late. He hasn’t appointed someone to handle his finances when he is unable to. As a result, no one has access to his bank account and the bills remain unpaid. When he is finally able to get back on his feet, he will be returning to a mountain of overdue bills.
Had your son prepared his three essential documents prior to his accidents, things would have gone very differently. If you were listed on his HIPAA Release, you could have been updated as soon as you got to the hospital. If you were named as his health care proxy, you could have helped in the decision-making process related to your son’s care. If you were appointed as his durable power of attorney, you could have taken over his financial situation before the bills started to pile up. By taking the small preventative steps of preparing essential documents, your son could have prevented so many unnecessary hurdles.
What Steps to Take
Contact Ladimer Law to begin the Essential Documents process today. Setting up these documents through Ladimer Law’s Essential Documents Program costs just $450 and consists of a 20-minute Zoom session and a drive-up document signing. Additionally, have a conversation with your loved ones to make sure that they have these documents set up as well. Taking preventative steps today can keep your family from going through the unimaginable tomorrow.
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Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.