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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Medical Wishes

    Emergency iPhone Health App Can Save Your Life

    Have you given any thought to how emergency medical care providers know who to contact or what to do if you are in an accident? Some people wear wristbands that contain important health information, such as drug allergies. But there’s an even better tool located in something many of us already carry every day—our iPhones.

    The Health App

    The iPhone, manufactured by Apple Inc., comes with a free Health app which allows users to track details of their health. From the Health Dashboard, a user can track daily steps, weight, and heart rate. Even nutrition and sleep patterns may be managed using the app.

    But setting aside all that fancy stuff, Health is a great app for ensuring medical personnel, such as of emergency room staff and paramedics, have critical information for both treatment and contact purposes.

    Users can create an “emergency card” that others can access directly from the lock screen. Even if a passcode is required to unlock the phone, the emergency card can be accessed simply by pressing the Emergency button on the lock screen. Users can choose the information that is displayed, and the information input into the emergency card is not shared with other apps.

    How to Get Started

    Click the icon that looks like a white square containing a red heart. The Medical ID card should open. Click the “Edit” button in the upper right hand of the screen and input the information you want to be available from your “Lock” screen, such as the following:

    Birth date;

    Medical conditions;

    Medical notes;

    Allergies and reactions;

    Medications;

    Blood type;

    Organ donor information;

    Height and weight; and

    Emergency contact information.

    With the Health app, you can arm your emergency health care providers with critical information, potentially saving your life and ensuring your loved ones are contacted in the event of an emergency. So why not take a few minutes to take advantage of this valuable, free tool today?

    Medical Directives

    It’s also critical to make sure your medical wishes are legally documented. Contact your California Estate Planning Lawyers today to ensure your wishes are known, and your family has someone to turn to during an emergency. Call Meier Law Firm today at 949-718-0420 and ask for Bonnie Johnson.  Bonnie can provide you important information regarding our plans and services and help you determine your next best step toward protecting yourself and your loved ones.

    Estate Planning For Young Professionals

    Young professionals hear a lot about the importance of establishing a 401(k), paying off their student loans early, saving an emergency youngmanlaptopfund, and budgeting advice, but far too often one of the most important aspects of financial planning is left out of the conversation: estate planning.

    Estate planning is not just for the rich, the famous, or the elderly—it’s for young people too! Young professionals at a minimum should have a basic will that directs where their assets will go upon their passing. In some states such as California where the court process for passing your assets is very long and expensive, a trust should be strongly considered.

    Young professionals also need medical directives so designated family members or friends can make their medical decisions in an emergency situation. Under federal laws, doctors and hospitals are prohibited from communicating with your loved ones unless you have specifically authorized them to do so through proper legal documentation.

    Estate planning is also not just about money.  If you have young children, you also need to consider establishing an emergency plan for your children in case you are seriously injured.  Otherwise your children are at risk of temporary foster care, or having a judge choose who raises them.  You also need to document your wishes for how you wish for your children to be raised, and preserve important memories and hopes for them if you were to pass away.

    The best place to begin evaluating your estate planning needs is by meeting with your Newport Beach family trust attorneys. We can help you understand what would happen if you pass away without planning, and what estate planning strategies are best for you to ensure your money would go to who you want, and your loved ones would be cared for.  While online ‘do it yourself’ websites have become more popular, they typically have disclaimers disclosing that they are not attorneys and do not have a fiduciary duty to you, whereas attorneys do. When people do face a medical emergency or pass away, their family quickly realizes that the ‘do it yourself’ approach has failed them.

    Call Meier Law Firm today at 949-718-0420 and schedule a planning session to get started.

    Estate Planning Implications When Young Adult Child Lives At Home

    You probably heard that a recent Pew Research Center analysis of census data shows that the most common living arrangement for adults ages 18-34 (aka millennials) is living at home with their parents. This is now a more common arrangement than a young adult living with a spouse or roommate or alone.

    And while there is a lot of discussion about how this new normal is affecting our economy, housing market, and marriage rates, did you know this also significantly impacts the family estate plan?

    Most traditional estate plans assume that young adult children live independently of the parents and outside of the family home.

    If you have a young adult child living at home, here are some unique questions you need to talk about with your family trust attorney so your family trust can best protect you, your adult child who lives at home, and your other family members:

    1. What happens when I pass away and my young adult child is still living at home? Do they have to be given notice to move out?  Do they have a right to remain there?
    2. Should my young adult child who lives at home receive the same inheritance as my other children who live outside the home?
    3. Should my young adult child who lives at home have a right of first refusal to purchase the family home after I pass away?
    4. How can I make medical and financial decisions for my young adult child who lives at home if they became seriously injured or passed away?
    5. Do I need a contractual arrangement with my young adult child who lives at home that addresses rent, rights, eviction, etc. similar to what I would have with a tenant?

    If you have a young adult child living at home, talk with your Newport Beach Family Trust and Estates Law Firm about how your family trust can appropriately reflect your family dynamic and living situation, and best protect the entire family.  Call Bonnie Johnson at (949) 718-0420 to schedule a Planning Session with a Meier Law Firm attorney who can show you your options and help you establish or update your plan.

    Reality Stars Odom and Kardashian Face Medical Nightmare

    Who would you want to make medical decisions for you in an emergency? Chances are you would not want it to be an estrangedkhloe-kardashian-lamar-odom spouse or family member.

    But this is exactly what’s happening now with Former basketball star Lamar Odom and his soon to be ex-wife Khloé Kardashian. Just as their long drawn out divorce was coming to an end, Odom has suffered a major medical injury that has left him unable to make health care decisions for himself. Because Odom did not execute an updated medical directives given his impending divorce, Kardashian still retails full authority under the law to make medical decisions on Odom’s behalf.

    This puts Kardashian in a key decision making role, with authority to decide everything from who should be allowed to visit Odom in the hospital, who should be allowed to talk with doctors on his behalf, what medical treatment he should receive, and even whether or not he should be removed from artificial life support.

    While Odom may or may not have wanted Kardashian to remain his medical decision maker, most people’s jaws drop at even the thought of an estranged spouse or estranged family member serving in this role on their behalf. The take away for all of us from the Kardashian Odom nightmare is that every adult should have an updated medical directive, especially if by default the role would go to someone other than who you would have chosen.

    For more information of medical directives and family estate plans, contact your Newport Beach Estate Planning Law Firm at 949.718.0420. We can help you complete proper medical directives and ensure they would be accessible to your loves ones in an emergency.

    What Parents are Learning From the Bobbi Kristina Brown Nightmare

    bobbi-kristina-brownThe Bobbi Kristina Brown nightmare is highlighting for parents how complicated things can quickly become if your young adult child becomes seriously injured. In light of the media frenzy surrounding Bobbi Kristina’s fight for life, including the strange circumstances surrounding her injury, her continuation on life support, and her boyfriend’s alleged prevention of visitation by Bobbi Kristina’s father, parents are now asking if something like this could happen in their own family.

    The best things parents can do to prevent a situation like Bobbi Kristina Brown’s is to encourage their young adult child to make their medical wishes known in advance by executing these powerful legal documents:

    1. Execute a medical power of attorney. Young adults should legally designate who they want to make their medical decisions if they cannot. This is especially important if you and your young adult child’s other parent are divorced, or if your young adult child has a significant other they are not married to. By having your young adult child appoint a medical decision maker in advance, all of your energy can be spent on looking after your young adult child’s care and recovery, rather than on legal disputes and uncertainty.
    2. Exercise a HIPAA authorization. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, doctors and hospitals cannot release a patient’s medical information to others unless the patient has signed a HIPAA authorization in advance that lists people who the patient would want the doctors or hospitals to talk to in an emergency. Without this important legal document, parents do not have an automatic right to access their young adult child’s medical information or speak to their doctors, even in a life-threatening emergency!
    3. Execute a Living Will. This is perhaps the most important document any adult should execute, as it directly addresses one’s wishes for life and death. You can imagine how painful it would be if you were faced with the decision of removing your own child from life support. Having your young adult child execute a living will is the best way for them to have certainty, and you to have clarity, during a time of great duress.

    For more information on helping your young adult child legally make their medical wishes known, or to make your own medical wishes known, contact your Newport Beach Estate Planning Law Firm. We believe that having medical directives is so important that any person who calls to schedule a planning session with Meier Law Firm, and mentions this article, will receive a free copy of Laura Meier’s new book, Good Parents Worry, Great Parents Plan. Call 949.718.0420 today.

    Why You Should Get Your Kids an Estate Plan

    We are fairly certain the last thing your 18-year-old kid is thinking about is an estate plan.  And you are probably not thinking about one for them either, but you should be.  Here’s why:  once your child turns 18, you are no longer entitled to know about their medical records or make decisions about their medical treatment.high school graduation

    Can you imagine your child needing medical treatment in some college town and you are not able to help in any way without a court saying you can?  It can, and does, happen.

    What you need to do is have your adult child fill out a health care proxy with a HIPAA release (HIPAA refers to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, the law that makes health records private for those over the age of 18).  On the form, your child can designate you as their agent, allowing you to have access to medical records and to make health care decisions for them in case they cannot do so themselves.

    While you’re at it, have your child complete a Durable Power of Attorney as well, which will give you the right to oversee their finances in case of incapacitation.

    Hopefully you will never need to use these three documents, but having these necessary protections in place will give you both peace of mind.

    Call our office today at 949.718.0420 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session for you and your adult child.

    The Conversation You Must Have With Your Kids and Your Parents

    Every single adult needs to have an advance health care directive written, signed and in place. This includes your children, as soon as they turn 18.  This includes you. This includes your parents.

    Without an advance health care directive in place, you would not be able to access your child’s medical records, if they are unable to communicate permission. You would not be able to ensure your health care decisions will be made the way you choose. And your parents lose the ability to communicate their wishes and remain in control as long as possible.health care decisions

    Here is what you can do to have the conversation you need to have about advance healthcare planning:

    1.  Look inward.  Before executing an advance healthcare directive with the help of your Personal Family Lawyer®, think about what you do – or don’t – want to happen if you were unable to make your own decisions.  Think about the people you would want to carry out those decisions and if the person you have in mind will follow your wishes.

    2.  Talk to your family.  One of the most tormenting things for families is having to make healthcare decisions for a loved one by having to guess what they would want.  Communicate your wishes to your family so you don’t put them in this stressful position.

    3.  Talk to your healthcare providers.  Let your primary physician and any other healthcare provider know about your decisions about your healthcare.  Ask any questions to alleviate any concerns you or your family may have.

    4.  Execute your advance healthcare directive.  Once you have decided upon your healthcare options and have chosen an agent, meet with your Personal Family Lawyer® to complete your official advance healthcare directive.  Have copies made for your family and your primary healthcare provider.

    Call 949.718.0420 to schedule a time to prepare a health care directive for your parent(s) or your adult child(ren).

    Living Will Challenges

    Critical documents about your preferences for end-of-life care don't always work as planned. More flexibility might be the answer.

    Making end of life decisions means generating and updating your living will (or advance health care directive). These documents often appear simple, but that doesn’t mean the underlying issues themselves aren’t complex.

    According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “A New Look at Living Wills,” unfortunately these issues are only growing increasingly complex.

    In its essence, the living will is a document in which you clarify your medical wishes. This allows your loved ones to implement them if you are incapacitated and unable to reflect upon them yourself in the future. Given modern medical science, doctors can keep a human body “alive” long after the “person” inside has lost what he or she would have regarded as a minimally acceptable quality of life.

    With each new advance in medical science, there seem to be more and more ethical and legal dilemmas. For example, the typical living will contemplates feeding tubes and respirators, but these can maintain a “persistent vegetative state” leading to shades of gray for the appointed health care agent and physician as they interpret your wishes. Moreover, the boundary between the patient being “there” or “not there” is only getting hazier as science progresses. In the end, even physicians don’t always seem to understand the power they may be wielding over life and death.

    Planning for your end-of-life scenarios is never easy, nor is it easy to faithfully interpret the wishes of a loved one. Nevertheless, as with all aspects of estate planning, communication with your agents, loved ones, physician, and spiritual advisor holds the key to success as you define it.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how you can create an estate plan that fulfills all of your wishes.

    Reference: The Wall Street Journal (June 8, 2012) “A New Look at Living Wills




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