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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > When, How, And Why To Use A HIPAA Release As Part Of Your Estate Plan

When, How, And Why To Use A HIPAA Release As Part Of Your Estate Plan


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of sensitive medical records. It requires doctors, medical providers, and insurers to keep records private. A HIPAA release is an estate planning tool that people can use to allow trusted family members and/or loved ones to access their medical records. Here, our Bronx & Westchester estate planning lawyers explain the most important things to know about HIPAA release forms and estate planning.

What is a HIPAA Release?

 HIPAA provides comprehensive confidentiality protections to sensitive medical records. A HIPAA release waives confidentiality protections in regards to certain pre-specified people. In other words, you can use a HIPAA release to authorize the release of medical records and other health information to trusted loved ones.

 Why is a HIPAA Release a Useful Estate Planning Tool?

 There is no question that HIPAA is an important federal law. However, it is federal law that presents certain potential challenges. The protection of sensitive medical records is so strong that it can cause issues for family members and other loved ones of a vulnerable or incapacitated person. They may have trouble getting access to sensitive medical records/health care information.

A HIPAA release form solves this problem. You can use to the form to clearly state that a trusted loved one (or loved ones) can access your medical records—either now or in the future, in the event that you become incapacitated. For example, a senior citizen could use a HIPAA release to give their adult child the right to access your medical records to help them get the care that they need.

 A HIPAA Release Must Conform to Federal Standards

 HIPAA is a federal law. For a HIPAA release to be valid, the form has to meet federal requirements. A flawed HIPAA release form may not be accepted by a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider. A HIPAA release form should be drafted and reviewed by an estate planning lawyer. Specifically, a HIPAA release should conform to the following five key federal standards in order to be valid:

  1. The form should be signed and dated by the person who is authorizing it;
  2. The form should specify the person or persons who are approved to get health information;
  3. The form should have an expiration date/event (can be death of authorizer);
  4. The form should clarify that the authorizer has the right to revoke it if they so choose; and
  5. The form should contain the proper language about potential disclosure to third parties. 

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With an Estate Planning Lawyer in The Bronx

At Cavallo & Cavallo, our Bronx estate planning attorneys are committed to helping our clients find peace and security. If you have any specific questions or concerns about HIPAA release forms, we are here to help. Contact us today for a strictly private initial consultation. With offices in The Bronx and New Rochelle, we provide estate planning services in New York City and Westchester County.

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