Health Care Legal Forms
Nothing is more important than the health of your family. From Advanced Health Care Directives to Medical Powers of Attorney, using appropriate and trustworthy legal forms is essential in ensuring your family's medical needs are met.
Health Care FAQ
Which legal forms are relevant to my health care?
Many of the legal forms you’ll sign relating to your health care are among the most important you’ll ever come across. Common forms include Power of Attorney for Health Care, an Advanced Health Care Directive, a Living Will and Authorization to Disclose Health Information. Each legal form has its own responsibilities and characteristics, but all are aimed at providing a legal ground for and proof of your health care wishes.
These core health care forms should all be considered essential, especially as you advance in age and your health care risk factors become more pronounced. Many of these forms are straight-forward and often only need to be used once.
Which health care forms should I sign and prepare?
Although we recommend that you consult a lawyer to fully explore all of your health care legal options, we can suggest some of the most important forms that you should seriously consider preparing:
- Power of Attorney for Health Care: This limited Power of Attorney will still have major ramifications on the type of health care you’ll receive when you are incapable of making your own decisions.
- Advanced Health Care Directive: Outlining your health care wishes in advance of becoming medically incapacitated will let your family and doctors know how you would like to be treated even when you are incapable of expressing that in the present.
- Living Will: Though called a “will,” this document does not address your estate. Rather it addresses what kind of treatment you want to receive in circumstances that don’t allow you to express your own decision.
- Anatomical Gifts: Donating your organs is not always as simple as having a sticker on your driver’s license. If you truly want your organs donated after your death, it will be important to have the proper forms filed for all situations.
Be sure that you understand the questions resolved in each form to truly get a handle on all of your health care directives before signing any individual document.
When is it too late to use health care forms?
In one word: never! Even if you’re not physically healthy, your ability to make decisions for yourself is still a power you can exercise. However, mental incap0acitation will invalidate the document.
I’m young. Can’t I wait to use these health care forms?
This is a common misconception. Although youth does represent a reduced risk for many health care issues, it does not provide immunity. Events outside your control, including unexpected illness, disease or injuries, can still require that you have these health care forms prepared. Even if you’re young and have no children to provide for, you’ll still want to make sure that your health care wishes are carried out in the event of your incapacitation. Additionally, you can appoint trusted family members to be your Power of Attorney for Health Care. You have a lot of powers under the law and it’s important that you take action to use them no matter what your age.
Should I use documents designed for my state?
Yes, all of the health care documents that you use should be prepared specifically for use in your home state. Because each state has its own laws regarding health care issues like these, you’ll want to make sure that what you sign is fully compliant with those laws – otherwise it could render much of the form invalid.
This applies to just about all health care forms, so be sure that the ones you use are properly prepared and designed for your home state.
What is Power of Attorney for Health Care, and how does it differ from other powers of attorney?
Power of Attorney for Health Care is exactly what it sounds like – it allows someone else (in your stead) to make key decisions on your behalf. Typically a “Power of Attorney” refers to signatory power – someone can sign checks in your name, for example. When it comes to Power of Attorney for Health Care, however, those powers are limited to medical decisions. A Power of Attorney for Health Care will have the power, for example, to disclose some of your confidential medical information should the need arise.
It’s important to have a Power of Attorney for Health Care named for certain circumstances, including incapacitation (such as being unconscious after a car accident). This will allow for a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf that keep your health care functioning as it should. Because you alone are capable of disclosing your confidential medical information, you will have to have someone in your stead if you’re incapable of doing so for yourself.
How do I express my wishes for future health care?
Using an Advance Health Care Directive (consisting of your wishes, as well as two documents, the Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will) is the most legally-effective way to make your medical wishes known. You will be able to outline which life saving measures you want used in the event of your incapacitation, choose to receive artificial life support, and you can additionally make additional instructions that aren’t typically covered in the range of health care forms available to you.
Doesn’t an Advance Health Care Directive cover everything?
Although an Advance Health Care Directive deals with your wishes for medical care in the future, it does not necessarily “cover everything.” It does, however, contain two key documents: the Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will. These two documents are very powerful in the influence they have in your future health care, which is why some people believe an Advance Health Care Directive covers just about everything.
There are other questions that you may want to answer, however, which is why it’s important to use all of the forms at your disposal if you have specific wishes (such as organ donation). Having an Advance Health Care Directive is crucially important and will resolve most future health care issues in the event of your incapacitation, but there is always more you can do.