Stutheit & Gartland prepares a Power of Attorney for finances and health care decisions for: $300 for an individual, $450 for a couple. These rates are significantly less than other Colorado lawyers charge.
Planning who will manage finances and health care if you become disabled is one of the most important things you can do with an attorney. This planning can be accomplished through powers of attorney. If you become incapacitated and do not have a power of attorney, then a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding costing thousands of dollars may be required before anyone may pay your bills, manage your assets, or deal with taxes. Without a health care power of attorney or HIPAA medical records authorization, your parent, partner, or interested person may be denied the right to confer with your doctors or the hospital.
The person or organization you appoint is referred to as an “Attorney-in-Fact” or “Agent.”
Medical or Health Care Power of Attorney – allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you if you’re incapacitated.
Does a power of attorney take away a person’s rights?
A power of attorney does not take away a person’s right to make decisions. An
agent simply has the power to act in accordance with the authorization set forth in the document. Only a court, through a guardianship and/or conservatorship proceeding, can take away a person’s rights to manage their finances or health care.
Do I Need a Lawyer to do a Power of Attorney in Colorado?
No. But it is a good idea to use a lawyer. The courts do not watch over what an attorney-in-fact does. A lawyer can help you write your power of attorney to place whatever limits or protections you want on the actions of the attorney-in-fact, or make them account to you or others for what they do with money and property.
Advance healthcare directives offer individuals self-determination in their medical affairs. While forms can be obtained from different organizations and at office supply stores, “it is advisable to have an attorney draft these documents to assure they comply with Colorado statutes and are inclusive in their directives.” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney
A Medical Durable Power of Attorney (also called Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) allows an individual to appoint an agent to make any or all health care decisions in the event the individual becomes mentally unable to make decisions. A Medical Power of Attorney differs from a Living Will in that a Living Will does not appoint an agent and is only used in terminal illness situations. In the event of a serious illness or disability, it is important to have designated a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is especially important because of the HIPPA (Health Information Privacy Protection Act) privacy act which severely restricts the information doctors and other medical personnel are allowed to give out even to family members.
Every adult should fill out an authorization to share medical information with friends and family. The federal law, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) creates a privacy rule for disclosures of health information. Where the privacy rule requires patient authorization to disclose information, being a patient’s relative or friend is not sufficient to permit a disclosure. The patient must have signed an authorization. An authorization is a detailed document that meets HIPAA requirements and gives health care personnel, and insurance companies, permission to disclose protected health information to one or more third parties specified by the individual.
Don’t be caught in a situation where a parent goes into a nursing home, and the doctors and facility refuse to share information with family about the parent’s care.
An authorization must specify a number of elements, including a description of the protected health information to be used and disclosed, the person authorized to make the use or disclosure, the person to whom the covered entity may make the disclosure, an expiration date, and, in some cases, the purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed.
Powers of Attorney and HIPAA authorizations cannot be set up after the individual is considered incompetent or incapacitated, therefore it is important to have these documents in place before a medical crisis.