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Estate planning for chronically ill people

People in Louisiana who have a chronic illness might want to revise their estate plan. They do not necessarily need documents that are different from those that others have. However, some types of chronic illness may eventually lead to a person's inability to understand and sign documents, and in those cases, it is important to get the right estate planning documents in place while this is still possible.

One type of document that may be needed is a HIPAA release. This authorizes someone to have access to the person's health information. The release can specify what information the person can access and may also specify an end date. Along with the HIPAA release, the person may need a health care proxy. This appoints someone to make medical decisions on a person's behalf. A living will outlines a person's wishes for end of life care. It may also address other issues, such as whether the person consents to experimental treatments or organ donation. It might be specific based on the person's illness. The person may also want to consider a Physician Order For Life-Sustaining Treatment to reinforce the living will.

A financial power of attorney appoints someone to handle the person's finances if the person is incapacitated. Some people may want to consider a revocable trust instead.

Even for people who are not chronically ill, having estate planning documents that deal with the possibility of becoming incapacitated can be important. This can happen to a person at any age, and it may be temporary or permanent. People should also review their estate plan regularly to ensure that it remains up to date based on tax law, changes in family and changes in assets. For example, they might want to appoint different people for certain roles in the estate plan.

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