Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
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How chronic illness can impact an estate plan

A chronic illness such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease could have a significant impact on a person's life. It can also influence how a person constructs his or her estate plan. Ideally, an individual who has a chronic illness will create a medical power of attorney as well as create a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) release. This will allow another party to access an individual's health records and make medical decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf.

It is important that the HIPPA release clearly states that it was created voluntarily and by someone of sound mind. It should also clearly state what types of records can be accessed by a designated third party. Those who are living with a chronic illness may benefit from creating a living will. The will can further explain what the illness is and how it could impact the maker.

A financial power of attorney allows someone to make financial decision's on the principal's behalf. This may be worthwhile for those think or know that their disease will ultimately lead to reduced cognitive function. A financial power of attorney can give as much or as little power as an individual wants an agent to have. Powers may be granted immediately or after a certain set of conditions have been met.

The use of living wills, trusts and other estate planning documents can help a person better manage his or her life. The use of a living will or power of attorney can make it easier to retain control of assets and what types of medical treatment a person receives. An attorney may be able to help create an estate plan document or talk more about its potential benefits.

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