Preparation makes the difference.
In a healthcare directive, you can name an agent to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. It allows your agent to choose healthcare providers, to choose where you will live and to review your medical records. Your agent’s powers cease when you regain the ability to make decisions or upon your death.
Minnesota law sets requirements for a valid healthcare directive, including that it must be in writing and properly witnessed. If your healthcare directive is not properly drafted, the federal privacy law, or HIPAA (Health insurance portability and accountability act), can impede your agent’s ability to gain access to your doctor or private healthcare information. If you have a healthcare directive, and especially if you travel to other states, consider having it reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney; a simple addendum referring to HIPAA could ensure your agent’s ability to act for you while traveling in another state.