It is no secret that the population in Michigan and around the country is aging. The fastest growing age group is that of people 65 and over. As people age, their health can deteriorate, and the fear of living with a chronic disease becomes a reality for many. Estate planning can not only help with the distribution of one’s assets but can also provide needed information and guidance to a person’s loved ones as the individual deals with a chronic illness.
There are many documents that should be considered if a loved one or oneself is diagnosed with a serious and debilitating illness. If a person has an estate plan in place, some changes might be considered. One of the most important documents is a HIPAA release. This authorizes medical professionals to communicate with a person or persons regarding one’s medical condition. Without such a release, people assisting with one’s care may not be able to get access to vital information or communicate with medical professional regarding one’s condition.
Living wills and health care proxies are also important. A living will can communicate one’s wishes regarding end of life care in the event that one becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. A person who has a person’s health care proxy has the authority to make health care decisions on that individual’s behalf. This can be very helpful in preventing family disagreements at a very stressful time.
Dealing with a loved one’s, or one’s own, chronic or debilitating illness in Michigan can be very difficult. There are additional documents and instructions that can be included in the estate planning process to facilitate proper and personally approved care in the face of a debilitating illness. Making such arrangements and preparations can be a wonderful gift to loved ones that can save them added grief and stress in having to make difficult medical decisions.