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"The Advance Health Care Directive and the Requirements of HIPAA"

By Robert P. Bergman, Attorney at Law

If you have a durable power of attorney for health care and a "living will" that were prepared here in California several years ago, they have both been superseded and replaced by the California Advance Health Care Directive. The Advance Health Care Directive combines the best features of both of the other legal documents, and makes sure that they are internally consistent with each other.

I now specifically draft Advance Health Care Directives that go into great detail about your wishes and desires concerning your health care, living arrangements, care instructions, and other important matters.

Additionally, the medical privacy requirements of the HIPAA law now require that anyone seeking your personal, private medical information must be specifically authorized by you, in writing, to gain access to your medical information. This includes your spouse, your children, your successor trustees of your trust, and your health care agents named in an older durable power of attorney for health care.

I now make sure that the necessary authorization is contained in the Advance Health Care Directives I prepare, and is also contained in a separate written HIPAA authorization where you can designate any others that you wish to have access to your medical information, with whatever limitations you wish to put on that access.

If you have older durable powers of attorney for health care and no HIPAA authorizations, it’s time to come in and meet with me as well. 

Robert P. Bergman is a San Jose estate planning attorney and counselor who devotes his law practice exclusively to assisting individuals and couples plan for incapacity and the eventual transfer of their property to their heirs.  Bob specializes in working with parents who have minor children, including special needs children.

Bob gives regular free living trust seminars at his office in San Jose.  Visit his website at www.lawbob.com where you can learn more, get on his mailing list, register for an upcoming seminar, schedule a consultation, and read other articles on estate planning topics that Bob has written.  You can also reach him by e-mail at rpb@lawbob.com or telephone at (408) 247-0444.  All inquiries are confidential.

This article is intended to provide general information about estate planning ideas, concepts, and laws, and is not to be relied upon as rendering legal advice about your particular situation.  No attorney-client relationship is created by this article. The laws concerning estate planning, wills, trusts, and estate taxes are very complex, often state-specific, and change on a regular basis.  Consult with an experienced attorney before taking any action that would affect your personal or business matters.

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Attorney Robert P. Bergman, Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, assists families in the San Francisco Bay Area with Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning for children and adults, special planning for retirement plan assets, and trust administration.

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