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What is a living will?

A living will, not to be confused with a last will and testament or a living trust, is an instrument that provides guidance when end-of-life treatment decisions must be made. A living will does not supersede a valid healthcare power of attorney. However, if the healthcare power of attorney is invalid or the agent is unavailable, doctors can rely on the legality of a living will.

What is a HIPAA Authorization Form?

The HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization form is a document used to provide someone other than yourself with the authority to receive access to your medical records. Unlike an agent under a healthcare power of attorney, the personal representative designated on a HIPAA form cannot make healthcare decisions on behalf of the patient; he or she is only authorized to receive Personal Health Information (PHI). It is sometimes a good idea to designate a trustee as a personal representative on a HIPAA form.

What is the difference between a power of attorney and guardianship?

Powers of attorney last only until death. Guardianship designations for minor children who aren’t disabled, typically go into effect after a parent dies. With respect to disabled adults, powers of attorney typically don’t require court supervision. Guardians of disabled adults, in Illinois, require continual court supervision. Court-appointed guardianship of a disabled person or a child with a substantive trust can be a time-consuming responsibility.