Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Proper Legal Documents For Medical Emergencies

Question:

My son lives across the country but is my health care agent.  He has a copy of my advance medical directive.  I’m concerned that if I am admitted to the hospital suddenly, or there is a medical crisis, he may not be able to quickly deal with the situation.

Answer:

An advance medical directive gives the instructions as to the type of medical care you would like to receive in the event that you cannot express those wishes yourself.  The document can also give another person the ability to make medical decisions for you. The document is often not so helpful if it is locked away at the bank or in your attorney’s office.  One solution is with a new app called “My Health Care Wishes.” This app allows one to import and store the document and other important health care documents on a smartphone so that it is accessible whenever it is needed. So in this scenario, your son could keep the information on his smartphone.  If there was an emergency, you would have a My Health Care Wishes wallet card which references that your son has your medical proxy documents.  Therefore, he would be able to access and send that document quickly giving him the ability to speak with the medical facility and make decisions. Two other possibilities are DocuBank and MyDirectives.  I have also seen articles which advise using a phone or tablet to simply store documents in a cloud based storage system. Comment:  One issue to be wary of is the security of these legal documents.  My hope is that these apps have worked on the security issues, but I can’t comment on whether that has actually taken place. As always, if you have questions or would like to know more about estate planning please contact Steven E. Shane at: Steve Shane Head Shot for websshane@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0313. Steve provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.