If you get sick when you are traveling who will make your health care choices if you cannot communicate with the doctors or nurses? It is vital that you have a properly executed Health Care Directive so that your loved ones can quickly and efficiently care for you. Whether you are in a modern hospital in Paris or an emergency room in South Dakota, if you cannot talk to the health care providers, someone will be appointed for you to make critical life decisions. You do not want that left up to someone who doesn’t even know you.
I meet many folks who have prepared either Health Care Directives, Living Wills, Advance Directives, HIPAA Authorizations or a Health Care Powers of Attorney yet when they travel they don’t take those documents with them. It is understandable because some states, like Nevada, have four separate documents that comprise the Health Care Directives. Keeping these documents on you can be unrealistic.
There are some states and companies that will fax your Health Care Directives to any hospital or doctor anywhere in the world. All you have to do is keep a card in your purse or wallet that contains the phone number for the company and your personal PIN. If you need your documents, all you have to do is call the number, enter the PIN and then enter the fax number of the location where you want the documents sent. It is all done by a computer, so you can call 24/7 and day of the year.
As a Las Vegas Living Trust Attorney, when we prepare Living Trusts for people to avoid probate when they die, we always include the Health Care documents so a court does not need to appoint a person to take charge. I personally had to use my card when I went to the emergency room and I could not speak to the nurses to tell them what was wrong. My wife knew my card was in my wallet and was able to prove that she had the power and authority to act on my behalf.
While most people understand the need for having a last will and testament before they travel, they might overlook the need for Health Care Directives. Do not let that happen to you. They are easy to execute and it will not cost you much to have them done by an attorney.