It’s final. You are now divorced.

With this change in your marital status, there are three important healthcare-related documents you need to update.

When you were married, your spouse was the default in receiving your health care information. Your spouse was also given the right to make health decisions for you if you were unable to make them.

For example, if you were in an accident and unconscious, the health care provider would turn to your spouse for decisions.

Now that you are single, you need to designate someone to take on this role. These changes can be addressed in the following three healthcare-related legal documents.

1- Durable power of attorney for health care:

This legal document identifies who you trust to make health care decisions for you in the event you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This person is referred to as your health care agent.

You can choose an individual or a group of people that you designate as your health care agent. When making a selection, think of family members or close friends that could fill this role. 

2- Health care directive:

This legal document specifies your treatment preference when you no longer can verbalize your desires. It’s usually referred to if you have a terminal condition that will result in death or a state of permanent unconsciousness.

While no one likes to think about these conditions, making the decisions now alleviates your health care agent from stressing over it. They will act based on your wishes instead of having to make difficult decisions.

3- HIPPA release:

In 1996, Congress created the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the privacy of your health information. A signed HIPAA release form identifies who can have access to your health care information.

Typically, your health care agent would need this information to make informed decisions about your health when you are unable to do so. 

Each state may have different requirements for these documents. For that reason, it’s preferable to work with a local estate planning attorney for these three important healthcare-related legal documents.

Before finalizing any of these documents, make sure you inform the person or persons you designate as your health care agent.

There are a lot of things to consider as you transition into your post-divorce life. These three healthcare-related legal documents are some of the items you’ll need to update now that you are single.

If you need help with your post-divorce transition, contact us for our guidance service. Click here to learn more.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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