Updated: May 22, 2021
Creating Your “Just in” Case File
It’s a scary time and the only thing we know for sure is no one knows what to expect next. They're a thing in this world that is just out of our control but there are still things we can control to help manage. Right now, every person over 18 years of age should have there just in case folders ready and waiting just in case. We have consulted our General Counsel and she has assisted us in listing six most important documents to update and know where they are located. It is important that these documents are signed when the individual is competent and understands the documents to which they are signing.
1. Medical Records Release Form – When you go to the doctor, we all hear the words HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act); a law in the United States by the Department of Health and Human Services that was enacted in 2003 to protect an individual’s privacy in regards to medical records and health information; which includes doctors and hospitals. Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, these new standards provide patients with access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and disclosed. Due to this law; it is imperative that you have a HIPAA Release to identify an agent to communicate with your healthcare team and assist with making educated and informed decisions. With COVID-19 being so contagious; communication between your doctors and your family is often limited and can be rushed. Having discussed this form and executing the form it will assist you in getting the quality care that you may need.
2. Healthcare proxy – A Healthcare Proxy is different than a HIPAA Release as a proxy is a legal document that identifies an agent to make healthcare decisions in the event that you are not able to do so. A legal document in which you name a person, called your agent, to make health care decisions for you if you are not able to do so.
3. Durable Power of attorney – A document that appoints an agent to handle financial, tax, and legal matters if you are not able to do so. You will often see terms as “durable” “special” “springing” or “general” Power of Attorney. A general power of attorney ends the moment the individual becomes incapacitated. A Special Power of Attorney is when an individual gives power for a particular reason or transaction. Now a Springing Power of Attorney is used when an individual would like to identify someone to have a Power of Attorney upon incapacitation. On the other hand, a durable power of attorney will stay in effect until the individual passes away or revokes it. Before executing a Power of Attorney it is imperative that you understand which type you are signing.
*You will need a written certification from a Medical Doctor to provide evidence of incapacitation. We have a form for that!
*We have forms to assist with organizing information and accounts to give to your agents.
4. Will –A will is a legal document that an individual uses to identify how you would like to distribute your assets upon your death and the guardians for your children that are under the age of 18. Something that is similar to a Will but is becoming more popular is a Living Trust; many people use a revocable trust as their primary dispositive document. To know which is best for you depends on your assets and situation. It is best to consult with an attorney on this matter.
*You can get a death certificate from a funeral home, they will assist.
Please note that in New York State, notary publics are not able to notarize this document.
5. Living will – If the time comes and your at a point of final decision making is needed; a living will is a statement that identifies your healthcare wishes. This is a document that you will need to be clear and direct.
6. Funeral Plan - Funeral planning is important and is a bit different than a will. This document will let loved ones know if you would like to be cremated or buried; what type of ceremony and the important details of how to handle your last wishes. Record your wishes!
Where do you find these documents? The best option is to hire a lawyer and the cost could be $1,000 to $10,000’s; it depends. If you’re one of the groups of individuals who are on the verge of financial hardship; hiring an attorney might not be a viable option. So we had our General Counsel draft a simple and basic package that will assist you in this time of need.
Most importantly, make sure that someone has access to these documents and is aware of the meaning behind the documentation. I know of cases where a Power of Attorney is signed but no one knows where it is; keep it in a safe but well-known spot.
This will make decisions easier, help your family. Imagine being so sick that you can’t make it to the bathroom, and if you are on a ventilator imagine who will be making your decisions for you; especially if they are not permitted to visit you. Having these documents ready could save your life!
Most of these documents require notarization or witness, Hudson Standard Alliance, LLC is able to notarize your documents on a safe and secure recording that is archived to make sure your wishes are reality.
Stay safe and say healthy!
Disclaimer: A Notary Public is not a lawyer and cannot give you legal advice. For legal matters please consult an attorney.
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