Pa Powers of Attorney – HIPAA – 6

Estate planners must stay ahead of the definitions and tenets of the HIPAA Privacy Rules. Knowledge of the precise meanings of Protected Health Information, Personal Representative, and other HIPAA terms, and how they impact our practice are fundamental to our role as counselors.

A Power of Attorney is a highly effective document when drafted correctly. Only with the proper wording in light of HIPAA, the Privacy Rules, and the changing practice of today’s health care profession, will the Power of Attorney remain the powerful tool it is mean to be.

Pa Powers of Attorney – Notice

Be aware that a Power of Attorney must comply with Pennsylvania’s Power of Attorney laws (April, 2000), and begin with a Notice page.

Pa Powers of Attorney – Notice

The Notice page must be in capital letters.

The Notice page explains and warns the rules surrounding the immense power of a Power of Attorney and the corresponding authority of the Agent.

Pa Powers of Attorney – Notice – Caution

If you executed a Power of Attorney prior to that date (April, 2000), and the Power of Attorney does not contain the Notice page, it is defective and will most likely cause more problems that it should be able to solve.

Pennsylvania Estate Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Fiduciary Accounting, and Fiduciary Taxation are extremely complex areas of law.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” (Mark Twain).

Whether you are a Pa Agent (under a Pa Power of Attorney), a Pa Surrogate (under a Pa Living Will), a Pa Trustee (under a Pa Trust), and/or (most importantly) a Pa Executor (under a Pa Last Will), you will ultimately be responsible for any and all problems, mistakes, and unpaid taxes.

Please also be aware that, when it comes to tax returns that were not filed, there is no statute of limitations – meaning that you could receive notice that taxes were due, but not paid, and are still currently due.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you retained a professional (i.e., a lawyer, an accountant, etc.), call that professional and ask them what is the status of anything with which they assisted you. They should be able to give you accurate, precise, and immediate answers to any of your concerns.

If they do not, please be forewarned.

You may want to seek assistance elsewhere.

In keeping with Mark Twain’s quote, let’s try to separate the lightning bugs from the lightning.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you.

John B. Whalen, Jr., Esq.

Pa Powers of Attorney – HIPAA – 1

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is vast.

When Congress enacted HIPAA on August 21, 1996, however, one of its critical concerns was protecting the privacy of the average American citizen. Prior to HIPAA’s enactment, medical records had become increasingly accessible as a result of technological advances that contributed toward widespread information sharing.

HIPAA targeted the potential for fraudulent or improper disclosure and transmission of medical records. In doing so HIPAA has created a challenge for lawyers in Pennsylvania who seek to protect the rights of clients who need to exercise Powers of Attorney for their loved ones within the HIPAA environment.

These issues and challengers will be reviewed in the next parts.

• • • • •

Pa Powers of Attorney – HIPAA – 1

Pa Powers of Attorney and Agents

Pa Powers of Attorney – Purposes

A Power of Attorney grants your Agent (Fiduciary) the ability to control all of your affairs.

It is a very powerful document; it permits your Agent the broadest of powers to do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all of your money away). Yet, inherent in the broad powers that your Agent possesses is the possibility – the extremely real possibility – that your Agent under your Power of Attorney may actually do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all your money away).
Fiduciary Traits

Pa Powers of Attorney – Fiduciary Traits

  • Your Agent (Fiduciary) should be able and willing, first and foremost
  • Your Agent should also be levelheaded and familiar

Pa Powers of Attorney – Common Misconceptions

A common misconception is that a Power of Attorney eliminates your ability to act for yourself. Quite to the contrary, and until you are deemed to be incapacitated, a Power of Attorney should properly be viewed as a “shared authority.” After you have executed a Power of Attorney, you still retain all of the powers and decision-making abilities that you possessed beforehand, including the power to revoke the Power of Attorney.

Another common misconception is that your Agent needs your permission to act. Quite to the contrary, a Power of Attorney is a very powerful document. It permits your Agent the broadest of powers to do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all of your money away), and, inherent in the broad powers that your Agent possesses is the possibility – the extremely real possibility – that your Agent under your Power of Attorney may actually do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all your money away).

Pa Powers of Attorney – Intro

Pa Powers of Attorney – Intro

  • A Pa Power of Attorney names your Pa Agent to control your affairs.
  • A Pa Power of Attorney is a very powerful document.
  • A Pa Power of Attorney can permit your Agent the broadest of powers to do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all your money away)
  • Yet, inherent in the broad powers that your Agent possesses is the possibility – the extremely real possibility – that your Agent under your Pa Power of Attorney may actually do anything that you could have done (i.e., give all your money away).

• • • • •

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