When most law firms put together an estate plan for a client, they focus primarily on a checklist of documents. At Blacksburg Law, we know that the documents are important – but we also understand that they aren’t the only thing that matters.
A HIPAA authorization is one of the documents that an estate plan should contain. On its face, this form is relatively straightforward: listing who you want to have access to your medical information. But it also represents so much more than that: it is about who you trust, who will likely care for you, and who will need access to this information in order to make decisions on your behalf.
Our law firm offers flat-fee estate planning services so that we collaborate on an estate plan without worrying about the clock. We will work with you to figure out what is important to you, how to make your estate plan workable, and what success looks like for you. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to schedule a consultation with a California estate planning attorney.
What Is a HIPAA Authorization and Why Do I Need One?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that – among other things – protects individuals’ privacy interests in their protected health information. In essence, HIPAA limits how health care providers and other covered entities (such as insurance companies) can use and share your protected health information. Unless you specifically authorize your doctor, a hospital, or another covered entity to do so, they typically cannot share any of your medical information with anyone else. And, in California, it’s required in addition to your advance health care directive.
This law is important, and serves a critical function of protecting our privacy. But it also can make things complicated when a person is sick or incapacitated and another person needs to talk to their medical team. A California HIPAA authorization is required. With this document in place, medical providers can provide information about your health and treatment plan to any authorized individuals.
A HIPAA authorization works in conjunction with your advance health care directive (AHCD). This way, your medical providers can provide protected health information to your agent. Your agent can then use their authority under the AHCD to make medical decisions for you.
As part of a broader trust-based or will-based estate plan, our HIPAA authorizations go a step further. We have a conversation with you about who you think will be best suited for the role of agent for your AHCD. We will then list that person and any other person you designate on the HIPAA authorization form. After all, there may be people who you wouldn’t choose as your agent, but who you still want to have access to your information.
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A HIPAA authorization form serves one primary function, but it is part of a set of documents that helps to cover a range of different situations. To ensure that it is effective, we believe that it is important to have a conversation about who you want to have this kind of access to your health information and why.
We firmly believe that estate planning should never be about filling in the box on standardized forms. Instead, we will work with you to help you decide what matters to you, how you want to live your life, and the legacy that you want to leave when you are gone. As part of this process, we will draft all of the necessary documents that have been customized to fit your unique situation and goals.
Build Your Estate Plan with Blacksburg Law
A HIPAA authorization is a necessary component of an estate plan. Blacksburg Law will work with you to ensure that you have all of the documents that you need. Before we do so, we will work with you to find out what is important to you. Our multi-step process focuses on empathy over fear, and asks you to consider both how you want to live your life and what you want your legacy to be.
Based in San Francisco, we counsel clients throughout California who are interested in something more than a basic estate plan. Our trust-based estate plans are based on the notion that estate planning is like a road trip. The documents (vehicle) get you to where you want to go – but our conversations help us figure out your destination.
If you are interested in a different kind of estate planning, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a California estate planning attorney, reach out to us at 415-508-5600 or fill out our online contact form.
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We communicated by email, phone and Skype – without one single f2f meeting! Michael’s associate Louis was at the same professional level, and the signing of the ﬁnal documents was as easy as was the whole process.
Blacksburg was a Boy Scout. Why is that relevant to an estate planning attorney? Because, he got his Eagle badge, he’s still trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind. It’s these personal qualities that separate him from other lawyers just as knowledgeable or technically adept.
Michael was a knowledgeable, professional and extremely patient attorney. He explained things in common English, so the process made sense, and got very speciﬁc when necessary. In all, he took a painful process and made it as pain-free as possible.
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