We hope this glossary is helpful for you. We can help you prepare for your meeting with your attorney, CPA, or other professional advisor, and help you implement their recommendations. If you have any questions, give us a call or send us a message through the contact form.
- Durable Power of Attorney
“Power of Attorney” refers to a legal document which discusses financial matters. A Power of Attorney allows you to name another person or persons to act on your behalf. It is “durable” if it lasts beyond the onset of any disability. The designated person is called an “Agent” or “Attorney-in-Fact” by lawyers, but people also refer to their Agent as their “PoA.” The Agent must act with your best interests in mind. Some of the tasks your Agent may perform for you include: accessing your bank accounts, paying your bills, managing your investments, and selling your real estate. Most Powers of Attorney go into effect upon signing, but some may not “activate” until a triggering event such as a disabling hospitalization. All Powers of Attorney end once the individual dies. Usually people appoint a family member or friend as their Agent, but sometimes they appoint their personal attorney, their CPA, or their daily money manager. Your Agent may hire a daily money manager to assist them in bill-paying, insurance submissions, or other paperwork.
- Springing Power of Attorney
Sometimes referred to as “conditional power of attorney”, this is a legal document that is a type of Durable Power of Attorney, which only comes into effect after certain conditions are met, usually when the individual becomes physically or mentally disabled. One or more physicians are usually required to certify that the individual has become disabled. The Springing Power of Attorney is used less often because of the difficulty in making the Power of Attorney effective in an emergency, among other reasons.
A Will is a document that outlines how and to whom property should be distributed after an individual’s death. The person responsible for making sure the property is distributed in the manner stated in the will is called the Personal Representative or Executor. This person is named in the will. The Personal Representative has to show the will to the local government’s Register of Wills or Probate Court. Wills may name a Trustee to manage any funds to be held in trust beyond death, and a Guardian to raise any underage children. Assets that pass through a Will are generally overseen by Probate Court. The Personal Representative may hire a daily money manager to assist them with the many tasks they are required to do when settling someone’s estate.
A DNR is a “do not resuscitate” order. This is a clinical order that informs medical personnel that you do not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event that your heart stops. A DNR order is usually requested by someone who has a terminal medical condition and does not want their life prolonged when they are close to death. If you have a DNR, your daily money manager can help you send copies to your physicians, so it is in your medical record.
- HIPAA Authorization
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) contains privacy regulations which require health care providers to limit access to confidential medical records and information, regardless of the patient’s state of health. A patient must specifically give permission in writing in order for family, friends, and/or designated health care agents to speak to health care professionals, obtain laboratory results, or receive written information. Without a signed HIPAA release, medical providers will not speak to your family or friends. Your daily money manager can make sure that your health care professionals have current HIPAA releases, so they know with whom to share your medical information.
- Maryland Advance Directive
An Advance Directive is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make health care decisions in the event that an accident or illness prevents you from expressing your wishes. The document lists your preferences regarding medical treatments. This documents states who you are appointing to make your medical decisions. This person is called your “Health Care Agent,” “Health Care Proxy,” or “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.” Your daily money manager can help you think about what questions you may have for your doctor, your attorney, and the person you would like to appoint as your Health Care Agent if you do not already have an Advance Directive.
A “medical order for life-sustaining treatment,” known as MOLST in Maryland, is a portable and enduring medical order form covering options for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other life-sustaining treatments. The medical orders are based on your wishes about medical treatments. It is the order, or orders, by a clinician for treatment if you are in a life-threatening situation. These medical interventions can include insertion of a breathing tube, assisted ventilation, transfer to hospital, antibiotics, artificially administered nutrition, or another medical intervention. Other states may refer to this as COLST, or “clinician order for life-sustaining treatment.” This form must be signed by a health care practitioner. Emergency personnel responding to a call for an ambulance will follow the orders on the MOLST. Maryland has prepared a set of questions to answer to help you complete a MOLST form if it is appropriate for you to do so.
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