The core of the health care portion of your Estate Plan is your Advanced Health Care Directive (or Health Care Power of Attorney). In this document you record your wishes and instructions for your medical treatment, including any existing conditions or illnesses, as well as the people you nominate as your health care agents, the people that will make health care decisions for you if you are unable. Your Advanced Health Care Directive should be updated whenever you have a major change in your health status.
Also included in the health care portion of your Estate Plan is your HIPAA Authorization, which gives the hospital and medical staff permission to share your health status with the people you’ve nominated as your health care agents. Your HIPAA should be updated every time you nominate new agents, or every few years.
A lesser known part of the health care portion of your Estate Plan is your disability panel, included in your trust. This is a list of the people authorized to determine your incapacity for purposes of handling trust accounts. A court of law is automatically authorized to make this decision, but you can also name a panel of doctors, professionals, loved ones, or a combination of any of those to determine your ability to make financial decisions relating to the trust. Your disability panel does not need to be updated regularly, but should be reviewed at least as often as you review your list of health care agents.