Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C. | Contents of this website may contain attorney advertising | Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances
Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C. | Contents of this website may contain attorney advertising | Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances
Attorneys helping to plan for your future

Living Will v. Advance Directive v. Health Care Power v. HIPAA Authorization

Confused about the difference between a  Living Will, Advance Directive, Health Care Power of Attorney,  HIPAA Authorization and HIPAA Release? You aren’t alone. Different states use different terms for the same documents, and so do attorneys depending on where they trained.

A Living Will or Advance Directive:

  • Makes a statement about what type of are you want in an end of life or critical care situation.  Do you want a DNR? What about pain medication even if it shortens your life?
  • A Living Will can be part of another document that names a Health Care Representative or stand-alone.

A Health Care Power of Attorney or Advance Directive (yes - names mix and match):

  • Names a person to make medical decisions for you.  Just because you are married, your spouse does not have the right to make medical decisions for you.  Just because you are related, your children do not have the right to make medical decisions for you. You must affirmatively give someone the right to make these decisions if you can’t.  And, you need to name one person at a time - a hospital will not deal with medical care by committee. This doesn’t mean the named person will not confer with other family members, just that you need to name one person to be the spokesperson and advocate about your care.
  • Expresses your wishes about organ donation, psychiatric care, location of care, hospice, etc. if you cannot make them for yourself.

A HIPPA Authorization or Health Care Authorization is more limited.

  • This allows a person or persons to have access to your medical records and for health care personnel to share your private medical information with them.
  • Here, you can name as many people as you desire to be able to have access to your medical information. However, only the person named in the Advance Directive or Health Care Power of Attorney can direct decisions on your behalf.

Regardless of your preferences, you need to have both documents.  This is not DIY time. These are a written expression of the health care you want for you when you cannot express yourself.  I can’t think of a more important document. It should be crafted with your desires in mind by an attorney who can answer all your questions and give you guidance on your selection of terms in the Advance Directive and person to be named Health Care Representative.

 

Please don’t let strangers at a hospital be the people who make your health care decisions for you.

 

Important Planning ADvice

Learn & Protect: Planning Guidance from our Attorneys