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The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C.

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Divorce and Family Law Matters

We are now accepting clients statewide in Texas.

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As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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Estate Planning Musts for the Hospital

| Nov 11, 2016 | Probate Law |

Estate planning isn’t just about the end of your life. Many of us will go to a hospital at some point in our lifetime, whether planned or unplanned. While the matter may not be life-threatening, it could still require some observation, treatment, or even surgery. No matter how routine the trip or procedure may be, there is also the risk of complications and to prepare for such in advance is an extremely smart measure.

 

The first document that you will want to make sure that you have executed is a Medical Power of Attorney. In the event that you become incapacitated and you are unable to communicate to the physician or nurse your medical desires, and they need to make a decision which was not already discussed with you, the person that you named as your medical power of attorney (also known as your health care agent) will be able to communicate with your medical team and a decision will be made on your behalf. In my opinion, this is the absolute most important document in the estate plan because it protects you as a person.  Your health care agent should be someone that you know and trust – someone that you discuss your desires with regarding your medical care. 

 

The second document that you want to make sure you execute goes hand in hand with the Medical Power of Attorney. This document is known as a HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form (sometimes called a HIPAA release form), which is more specifically for, as the form’s subtitle suggests, “Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Protected Health Information.”

 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law passed in 1996, was established to keep individuals’ health records confidential and secure. Because of the law, an individual has to give written permission to allow for two things that he or she will typically want while in the hospital: for close family members and friends to be able to get information about how the patient’s doing, and for the hospital to get medical records from other healthcare institutions that have previous contact with the patient.

 

You may already be familiar with a variation of this form that your family doctor, dentist, etc. may have you sign when you go to their office for a visit, but this general HIPAA Release can be used by your health care agent to receive medical information from any facility.

 

The last document is not “necessary,” but it is certainly helpful in directing your loved one of your specific desires and alleviating the stress they may have if faced with this decision. This document is the Directive to Physicians more commonly referred to by the lay person as a living will but also sometimes referred to as an Advanced Directive. In your Directive to Physicians, you are able to instruct your medical team what you would like them to do in regards to life sustaining treatments should you fall into an irreversible condition, or a terminal illness. Examples of life sustaining measures include, but are certainly not limited to artificial nutrition (e.g. feeding tube), mechanical ventilation (e.g. trachea) or transfusions. You may be very specific as to your restrictions or you may keep it broad.   

 

If you’re relatively young and healthy, you may not want any restrictions placed on what measures the medical staff will take to save your life. However, if you are further along in your path in life, you may not want any measures at all.  This is entirely up to each individual and should be a choice that is personal to you without any outside influence, as with all estate planning decisions. 

 

I consider the Directive to Physicians to be a very live document since your decisions about treatment may change should your overall medical status change between hospital visits or you age. You can update the Directive to Physicians with your lawyer to specify what you do and don’t want done on your behalf at any time so long you are deemed to have mental capacity and are lucid.

 

The Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release and the Directive to Physicians can be used for multiple hospitalizations, although most hospitals will require you to produce each document and that it be accounted for by the hospital admission staff for each individual stay.


I understand that this subject is not light or easy, but it is certainly an important one for everyone that has reached the age of majority and is able to make decisions for themselves. Please take the time to think about you, and what you would want should you ever need anyone to make these decisions for you, and take the time to have that communicated in the appropriate document.

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