Health Care Proxy or Health Care Power of Attorney

Health Care Proxy or Health Care Power of Attorney: Similar to a financial POA, in that it grants a person the authority to make decisions on your behalf, but the authority lies in medical/health decisions, not financial. Thus, if you are incapacitated, this person will have the right to consult with your doctors, have access to your medical records and make the best medical decisions possible on your behalf. Unlike the financial POA, this is typically only used when one is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own. This document can also be changed and revoked at any time.

Who are the players?
Grantor: The person who creates the Health Care Proxy and chooses the Agent.
Agent: The person who is granted the authority to make medical decisions and has access to medical
records. This can be any person you trust, over the age of 18.

Common Myth: Spouses automatically have the right to make medical decisions on each other’s behalf and can access each other’s health records. While most health care facilities may consult with a spouse, they do not have to defer to a spouse. The Health Insurance and Personal Privacy Act (HIPPA) protects personal medical records; thus, absent a valid health care proxy (or a signed form provided by the health care facility), a spouse does not have access to such records. The same is true for parents of children who are over the age of 18.

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Lillie N. Nkenchor

Lillie N. Nkenchor, Esq., LL.M, President of Lillie N. Nkenchor, PC, educates individuals, families and business owners on estate and business planning concepts. As an attorney and engaging speaker, she helps clients address their vision and devise appropriate, tax-efficient strategies that meet personal and business goals. She is uniquely skilled in removing complexity so her clients can take control of their personal and business objectives.