A relatively new smartphone application produced by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging gives individuals and families the ability to store their own health care advance directives, often called a health proxy for health decisions, living wills, etc. in addition, key health care information and contacts may be stored on either the Android or Apple Smartphones. This new app is called My Health Care Wishes and is available for download here: www.myhealthcarewishes.org.
Very often, an individual becomes ill and no one in the family knows where the documents were stored or what their loved one’s wishes were intended to be. This application provides family members, as well as medical personnel, the ability to have information available when necessary, in the unfortunate event of a loved one’s serious illness.
In the past, many states or private enterprises have attempted to store this information, but they have not been very successful, due to the fact that many individuals did not want to provide this information “publicly,” in addition to the inefficiency of anyone else trying to maintain this information in a meaningful format.
In this manner, you may create their own personal registry and update it whenever necessary, as well as be able to forward the information to others. You may allow a child, family member, or other trusted individual to have these documents loaded on their own smartphone, and therefore, have them available in the unfortunate event of your illness.
There are different versions of the app available, and while one is free and stores the information, the other version is currently offered for $3.99 and allows unlimited storage of all related information, the ability to email the stored documents to a health care provider and other family members, and it provides additional resources.
One significant caution though is that this application may provide the ability to create documents without the advice of a lawyer, and these new documents could revoke your custom prepared estate planning documents that were drafted by your attorney.
This app does not solve all problems, but it certainly makes available a relatively easy solution for families who wish to have information and access available. It may also be helpful to be sure that your attorney receives a copy of these new documents and to be sure that all intentions of your plan are properly coordinated.
Hyman G. Darling, Esq.