Advance healthcare planning is important for everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. For the LGBTQIA+ community in particular, advance healthcare planning has pivotal benefits to their well-being. As hard as it can be to imagine, you never know what accidents may occur in life that may land you in a situation where a loved one may need to make medical decisions on your behalf. Often, the person who will receive these responsibilities—if not otherwise directed—is a parent or spouse. However, those who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community are often less likely to be married to their partner, though this number has been steadily on the rise. Additionally, it is possible you may not want your parents in charge of your healthcare for various reasons. By creating an advance healthcare plan, you will be able to protect your wishes and give power over your healthcare to the people you care about and trust.
Trust & Will, a leader in online estate planning services, understands the unique needs and the importance of the LGBTQIA+ community having a comprehensive advance healthcare plan. At Trust & Will, we want to help make sure you have all the documents you will need for advance healthcare planning. This article will address four important legal documents that will help make sure your wishes are met:
Power of Attorney
When you can no longer make decisions for yourself, such as if you are in a coma, or develop Alzheimer’s disease, you are going to want a trusted individual in your life to be able to make financial decisions for you. This is where a Power of Attorney comes in. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to select an individual, whether it be a life partner or close friend or relative, to have power over your financials. This will allow your Power of Attorney to make decisions on your behalf with your best interests in mind. Your Power of Attorney will also make sure that your bills will continue to be paid on time and that your finances are accessible to pay for all needed medical treatments.
If you are an individual within the LGBTQIA+ community with a life partner you are not legally married to, or you no longer want your parents or next of kin making financial decisions for you, creating a Power of Attorney will be your best option. Without a Power of Attorney, it is possible that your wishes may not be fully met.
HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form
For the LGBTQIA+ community who have loved ones in their lives that are not recognized as immediate family members, a HIPAA privacy authorization form is especially critical. If you were to find yourself in an unfortunate accident, your partner or loved ones may not have legal authority to receive updates on your medical condition. It’s very possible that only immediate family will be allowed this information. It also means that if you were to be transported to a hospital in critical condition and unable to communicate, your partner might not be notified by the hospital to inform them of your condition if you are not legally married. This can cause unneeded additional stress in an already exceptionally stressful time. A HIPAA authorization form allows for the disclosures of health information to a representative, named in advance by the patient.
Advance Healthcare Directive “Living Will”
It is an unfortunate possibility that as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may have strong differences of opinion with your biological family. As a result, you may also have differences of opinion on how your healthcare should be managed should there be unforeseen circumstances down the road. One of the best ways to ensure that your final wishes are met regarding your medical decisions, regardless of whether you are well enough at the time to advocate for yourself, is to create an Advance Healthcare Directive, also known as a Living Will.
An Advance Healthcare Directive is a document containing legally enforceable, written instructions on how you want medical, or end-of-life decisions carried out should you at any time become unable to communicate those directives yourself. This legal document will allow you the peace of mind that comes in knowing your medical decisions will not be left up to interpretation or educated guesses. Instead, there will be legal written documentation of exactly how you would like certain medical decisions to be made, such as whether or not you would like extraordinary measures to be administered, including additional surgical procedures, CPR, or the use of life support/ventilator machines.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament are documents that allow you to state who should receive your assets after you die. (Your assets are any of your material belongings that hold value, such as your car, house, property, etc.) Additionally, your Last Will and Testament lays out your final wishes, such as where you would like to be buried, if you would prefer to be cremated, if you want to have a non-religious or religious funeral, or other specifications you may have in mind. Creating a Last Testament will also help make sure that your burial preferences are met, regardless of whether your family agrees with your decisions on the matter.
Your Last Will and Testament is especially beneficial if you and your partner are not currently married but share a home that is currently owned by only one member of the partnership. By creating a Last Will and Testament, you can ensure that your partner is able to gain ownership of your shared belongings after you pass and will help keep your Estate from being contested by family members.
Completing your advance healthcare planning is crucial for everyone and can be an asset to helping make sure that all of your wishes are met, especially if you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Don’t let the feeling of not knowing where to begin keep you from starting your advance healthcare planning. With Trust & Will’s online state-specific estate planning services, it is easier than ever to get your comprehensive Estate Plan completed today from the comfort of your own home. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!
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