Some years ago, Forbes Magazine published an article titled, “Why You Should Discuss Health With Your Financial Planner”. Much of the article dealt with longevity and planning to have your monies last your lifetime. I would like to focus in this article on what I consider the most important aspect of discussing your health with your trusted advisors. Your Health situation should be discussed in your overall planning for both financial as well as estate planning matters.
For the Boomer generation one of the most worrisome problems associated with health is the thought of incapacity at some time. What if I become incapacitated because of health issues?
• Who will pay my bills?
• Who will look after my investments?
• Who will be there to take over all of my financial management?
As I have written so often you must have a durable financial power of attorney. Durable because the power of attorney must survive your mental incapacity. This durable power of attorney allows an individual you appoint to act on your behalf for all of your financial affairs. You can have your durable power of attorney drafted as broad or limited as needed to make you comfortable. I always recommend that you need to have this power of attorney drafted by an estate planning attorney. A do-it- yourself form copied from the internet will not serve you well.
Along with the durable power of attorney you should consider:
• a health care power of attorney, with medical instructions to be followed if you become incapacitated;
• a Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization, so that your agent has full rights to your medical records;
• a health care proxy that may give someone decision-making power at the end of your life;
• a living will that outlines your expectations for medical care near the end of your life.
As we age health care discussions should become an integral part of our financial and estate planning.