A comprehensive healthcare directive, which is an essential part of your estate plan, includes:
- A Living Will;
- Healthcare Agent Designation; and
- A HIPAA Medical Release.
The older we get the more health issues are likely to occur, and without the proper legal documentation, we might not get the care we need. One area, I believe, many estate lawyers don’t discuss enough is mental health in the healthcare directives.
An individual with mental health issues can benefit greatly from having proper healthcare directives in place, especially since it allows a chosen, trusted loved one to help with decisions about care, treatment, and medications, as well as the ability to help complete paperwork.
A standard healthcare directive might not be adequate for those with extreme mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia. In those cases, I suggest consulting with an experienced attorney who can help you create a specific “mental healthcare” directive. Here you can cover subjects such as involuntary commitment, controversial treatment options, and give healthcare agents control over medications.
If a person’s mental state renders them unable to make legal decisions, then a hearing for guardianship or conservatorship will be held in probate court to grant a caregiver legal authority over mental and physical health decisions. Adult guardianship proceedings can take a long time, and ultimately, all decisions will be left to the court.
If you have more questions about healthcare directives, or specifically about how to plan for someone where mental health issues are a concern, we invite you to give our estate lawyers a call to set up your consultation.