In these digital days, more than ever before, there are strict financial institutional privacy regulations and physician privacy and confidentiality laws in place to protect a person and their belongings.  While on one hand, we want the protections these laws and regulations provide, on the other hand, it makes it nearly impossible to step in for a loved one who needs assistance to manage their financial and medical affairs without the right legal documentation.

As your parents are approaching or navigating through their golden years, ensuring their peace of mind (and yours!) becomes a high priority.  Questions you need to start asking now are: How will you help them if they become ill or injured? Who will take care of their bills and make sure their health needs are met? How do they want to be cared for, if and when they cannot care for themselves?

To make sure your parents can always get the help they need, legal documents need to be prepared. The most crucial of the legal document include a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy/Living Will, and HIPAA Waiver. Having these 3 documents in place right now will legally protect them and you in the event they cannot manage.

Now, let’s break down why these tools, which are part of comprehensive estate plan, are so critical for your parents, no matter how much or how little money they have in the bank.

  1. General Durable Power of Attorney (POA). A Power of Attorney (or POA) grants a person you choose and trust the authority to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to do so yourself. From handling bills to making investment decisions, the POA ensures that your money matters are handled, whether you’re experiencing a temporary illness or long-term incapacity, such as in the case of memory problems.
  2. Healthcare Proxy and Living Will. It’s possible your parents already rely on you for guidance with their healthcare decisions, and it’s equally possible they don’t share details of their healthcare with you at all. No matter which side of the spectrum your parents position themselves, the question of what will happen to their healthcare needs if they become seriously ill can feel overwhelming — even more so during a medical crisis. The Healthcare Proxy designates someone to make medical decisions on behalf of your parents if they’re unable to do so. This trusted individual becomes the advocate, ensuring that healthcare choices align with your parents’ values and preferences.
  3. HIPAA Waiver. The HIPAA Waiver is the ultimate tool for opening communication roadblocks in times of need. A HIPAA Authorization releases the restrictions placed on medical providers and allows them to speak to someone else other than their patient and to provide medical records.

By proactively planning ahead, you’re investing in your parents’ peace of mind and yours. Schedule your Estate Planning Design Session: 718-514-7575 or 732-333-1854. We’ll guide you and your family through it all.

Monet Binder, Esq., has her practice in Queens, dedicated to protecting families, their legacies, and values. All halachic documents are approved by the Bais Havaad Halacha Center in Lakewood, under the direction of Rabbi Dovid Grossman and the guidance of Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita, as well as other leading halachic authorities. To learn more about how a power of attorney can help you, you can send her an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 718-514-7575.