Medical And Financial Powers of Attorney
One of the most important documents you can create for your protection is the medical and financial powers of attorney. You appoint a loved one to be your “attorney” and to have all of the powers you have over medical and financial care in case you are unable to take care of yourself. The medical power of attorney must cover contingencies such as the HIPPA glitch. Under HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act), you get privacy for your medical records. The problem is if you are in a coma and unable to consent to your loved one getting the records, they can’t. So, under the medical power of attorney, you give your attorney consent to receive your medical records. It is also wise to specify that your attorney can consent to medical procedures, withhold consent, take you out of the hospital against medical advice and waive the liability of the hospital or physician. Using this type of language ensures there is nothing your medical power of attorney cannot do to help you. That sort of flexibility is what you want for yourself and those who protect you. On the financial side, the financial power of attorney language has recently been revised in Maryland so that all banks will accept the new language. As you would imagine, the financial language reiterates everything you can do for yourself. You are giving that power to your attorney to take care of you financially.
It is important that your “attorney” be able to find the original document to show to doctors, hospitals, etc. Never store your original power of attorney form in a safety deposit box since it is highly unlikely you will only suffer a medical condition warranting its use during bankers’ hours. Show this document to your power of attorney and tell them where to find the original. Also, instruct them never to part with the original to anyone. Unfortunately, if the document is lost or destroyed, it may not be possible to create another if you are incapacitated.