If you are in a committed, long-term, unmarried relationship in Phoenix, you face additional legal burdens as compared to married couples. This is true whether you are in an LGBT or heterosexual relationship. In order to protect your rights, you must work with an estate planning attorney to create an airtight estate plan. One often overlooked tool is the Hospital Visitation Authorization.

Two men and two women discussing the importance of a health care visitation authorization in Phoenix, AZ

A Hospital Visitation Authorization is a legal document that allows you to specify in writing who is authorized to visit you while you are in the hospital. In 2010, President Obama issued a memorandum ordering that all hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the right of patients to designate visitors whether or not the visitor is legally related to the patient.

Hospital Visitation Authorization

Having a Hospital Visitation Authorization allows you to communicate your wishes regarding visitation in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself. Even after same-sex marriage has been legalized in the United States, LGBT couples still face harmful and discriminatory incidents, and unmarried partners may be denied access without an authorization.

Creating a Hospital Visitation Authorization is especially important where family tensions are strained, and your family members do not approve of your relationship with your partner. You do not want your partner who you love denied access and left stranded in the waiting room while you are incapacitated in a hospital bed. You should ensure that both the hospital and the individual that you are authorizing have copies of the Hospital Visitation Authorization. Not being allowed to be by your side would only serve to make a stressful time much more difficult and painful for your partner.

Health Care Power of Attorney

In addition to a Hospital Visitation Authorization, you should talk to your estate planning attorney about drafting a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will. A Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate a person to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. A Living Will is a legal document that states your end-of-life care wishes. A Living Will could include such things as whether you want to be placed on life support or whether you wish to be resuscitated through CPR. Together these three documents (a Hospital Visitation Authorization, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will) will serve to protect your interests if you become too sick to advocate for yourself.

Although it can hard to plan for the future, you want to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. A Hospital Visitation Authorization is a helpful tool that can help you avoid potential complications when you become sick. You must fight to make sure that your wishes are followed, especially if you are part of an unmarried relationship.

Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney

Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney committed to helping unmarried couples plan for their future. Everyone needs an estate plan, especially non-married couples that are not otherwise afforded legal protections under the law. If you are interested in creating a Hospital Visitation Authorization, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation.