The Ritter & Randolph, LLC Blog

Advance Medical Directives for Your Adult Children

Erica L. Groman, Esq.

Do you realize that if your adult child is injured or hospitalized and does not have a HIPAA Healthcare Information Release document in place, the treating physician is prohibited from communicating medical information to you under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act attempts to provide a high standard of patient privacy that hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers must exercise.

Under HIPAA, as a family member, you are not automatically entitled to medical information pertaining to your 18+ year old child, your spouse, your parents nor others who are important to you if such a document has not been prepared.

Be proactive and make sure each adult family member has executed this document so that any healthcare provider may freely provide your family members with medical information. Before your children leave for college, this should be a priority.

Other important documents to execute include: (1) a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care which appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself, and (2) a Living Will, which expresses your desires regarding when and how life-sustaining measures should be used in the event that you are unable to make health-care decisions for yourself.

Contact estate planning attorneys Justin T. Precht, Esq. at jprecht@ritter-randolph.com or Erica L. Groman, Esq. at egroman@ritter-randolph.com for assistance with these medical directives.

Home Sales Continue to Decrease as Prices Rise

Aryeh M. Younger, Esq.A recent study by the National Association of Realtor (NAR) claims that home sales are continuing to decline across the U.S. This comes despite an overall boom in the broader economy, forcing experts to provide explanations for the incongruity.

The overarching reason for the decline in home sales appears to stem from a general imbalance of supply and demand. Millennials around the country are beginning to realize the American dream of owning a home. At the same time, the cost of labor associated with building homes has continued to increase, a phenomenon associated with both the recent crackdown in illegal immigration and the rising cost of building materials (partially the result of international tariffs). According to Aaron Terraza, a senior economist at Zillow, “[s]upply is woefully inadequate to meet demand, which is pushing prices ever higher contributing to mounting affordability woes.”

The difficulty cited by Terraza is additionally compounded by a recent increase in lending interest rates. The Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates, which has caused interest rates for ordinary home mortgages to increase. Mortgage rates have now returned to seven-year highs.

However, at least according to one economist, the increase in mortgage interest rates may bring more equilibrium in the housing market. Andres Carbacho-Burgos, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, claims that “[t]he upward trend in mortgage rates will pull affordability below a critical point and start to seriously erode demand and appreciation, at which point the reduce return on homes as an asset will prompt more homeowners to sell, breaking the right market fever.”

If Carbacho-Burgos’s prediction is true, we might begin to see more balance in the housing market, which could perhaps lead to more affordable pricing. But in the meantime, it looks like the imbalance between supply and demand will continue to force prices upwards for the foreseeable future.