Important documents in the drawer
Suddenly in the intensive care unit and no longer responsive – the problem in practice: Hardly anyone has their documents for legal precautions with them on a daily basis. Health care power of attorney, living will or care directive may be at home in a drawer, in a folder or with relatives. In an emergency, the doctors in the hospital know nothing about it and also have no access.
Appoint a contact person for doctors in the health care proxy
Doctors need a contact person who represents the interests of the patient. As a rule, this is a person authorized in a power of attorney who is responsible for health care. A caregiver that the patient has previously used is also an option. When it comes to the dying phase and decisions about life-prolonging – or shortening measures, a living will helps. It provides authorized representatives and doctors with clarity and legal certainty for treatment.
Guide with all forms
Many people want to make provisions for the event that they can no longer make decisions for themselves. The preventive care set from Stiftung Warentest helps with this.
regulate in time. Living will, healthcare power of attorney, care directive: The precautionary set provides information on which directive does what and where the pitfalls lie. We also explain what needs to be considered when writing a will and how to regulate the digital inheritance. The Stiftung Warentest guide contains the most important forms for detaching and filing. The forms are up-to-date and comply with the requirements of the case law of the Federal Court of Justice. There are step-by-step instructions for all forms, which are written in understandable German. The book has 144 pages and is available in the test.de shop for EUR 16.90 (PDF/e-book: EUR 13.99).
Guardianship court has access to registered data
If doctors have no information about the patient’s contacts and no one can be found, they call the guardianship court, a special department of the district court. It has access to the Central Pension Register of the Federal Chamber of Notaries (ZVR). Anyone managing their legal care can report to this register who their proxy or proposed guardian is. They also specify the scope of the power of attorney, which is called “precautionary certificate” in official German. It is also noted whether there is also a care or living will. From January 2023, doctors in clinics will also have access to the register.
Over 5 million entries
Since the register was founded in 2005, 5.6 million people have submitted their data. Private individuals and notaries use the registration option. Important: Registration is not a substitute for documents. “Many send their entire pension portfolio to the pension register,” says Dominik Hüren, spokesman for the Federal Chamber of Notaries. That’s wrong. “We will send the documents back unchecked.”
Who can act for the patient?
Anyone who has stored their data in the register can count on the guardianship court quickly determining who can act on behalf of the patient in an emergency. Ideally, the authorized person then knows where the original documents, i.e. health care proxy and living will, are located and can hand them over to the hospital. From January 2023, doctors in the clinic will also have access to the register. In an emergency, they could quickly and securely receive information about whether a living will exists and who is entitled to make decisions for the patient.
Around 20,000 queries per month
Around 20,000 times a month, courts from all over Germany ask the registry whether a patient has reported data. If the query at the pension register shows that no data is stored and no authorized representative or guardian can be found, the guardianship court will commission a “stranger” person as a guardian. In an emergency, he decides with the doctors in the interest of the patient.
pension register. Do you already have a health care proxy, a living will or a care directive (in official German, a health care certificate)? If so, you should report the documents to the Central Pension Register of the Federal Chamber of Notaries. In an emergency, courts will ask the register whether you have stored data. This tells the court the name and address of your authorized representative or the proposed guardian. If you have arranged your provision with the help of a notary, he will take over the registration – if desired.
modification. You can change or delete an entry at any time, sometimes for a fee.
Costs. The permanent registration of the data costs once – depending on the scope – from 20.50 euros.
Contact. You can access the register online (pensionregister.de) or by post: Federal Chamber of Notaries, Central Pension Register, Postfach 08 01 51, 10001 Berlin. Tel.: 0 800/3 55 05 00 (free of charge).
Registered as an agent
Nobody has to worry about being registered as an authorized representative or proposed guardian without their knowledge: To protect the right to informational self-determination, the pension register informs every person named in the form about the entry and the right to request the deletion of the data.
Information card or note in the purse
With or without a preventive care register: a small information card or a piece of paper in your wallet can help doctors in an emergency. The ZVR and often also social or care associations offer “emergency cards” in credit card format. It should be noted: “I have a power of attorney. In an emergency, inform person xx, phone number xx.”
Report existing precautionary documents
This is how you can proceed when registering your documents in the register:
- Date of the certificate: Enter the date of your power of attorney. If you only have one directive for care, enter the date of this directive.
- The information on the scope of your Power of Attorney are voluntary, but make it easier for the guardianship court to assess the content of your power of attorney at an early stage. If you want to store the information, transfer the data from your Power of Attorney and tick the areas for which the authorized representative is responsible. It’s all about wealth issuesthe health care and the right of residence.
- You can also tick whether you have a care directive have in you a person as supervisor suggest. The court then examines, should the case arise, whether this person is suitable as a guardian. If not, another person may nominate it. Also tick whether you have one living will to have.