“If you are to get the medical care you need,” cautions Tim Prosch in the book The Other Talk, ” you and your family will need to learn how to take control of your healthcare.”
At Geyer law, we convey the same message to our estate planning clients. Appointing someone to be your medical advocate or healthcare power of attorney is literally just the first step, because, just as Prosch warns, that representative may someday be called upon to coordinate various doctors and specialists on your behalf, find and organize medical records, deal with diagnoses, even negotiate with insurance companies.
Once you’ve determined which child or other relative would be the best candidate for your medical power of attorney (someone who is emotionally strong and a good communicator, plus has the time available to devote to the task), you must begin the task of organizing your medical history. In addition to the legal documentation, your folder must include:
- A list of doctors and medical providers (names and contact information, medical specialty, and a brief description of what treatment plan each recommended for you)
- A list of medications (name, strength, how often you are taking them, who prescribes the medication, where the prescription is filled).
- Medical insurance information – policy numbers and contact information
Prosch recommends building a medical family history. “The purpose,” he says, “is to create an understanding of potential risk factors by linking family genes to predisposition for many chronic illnesses.” Rather than creating fear, he explains, such a history allows you to be proactive for preventable diseases so you can be on the lookout for early symptoms.
Having your medical representative participate in doctor visits, possibly via conference call or Skype, would be good practice, Prosch suggests.
We agree. The goal of our attorneys at Geyer Law, regardless of your financial status, is to help you accomplish your objectives and provide for your family in the best way possible. We believe assembling your estate planning team, including your medical advisors, is a path to peace of mind.