Why It is Important to Keep Your End-of-Life Health Care Wishes Current

Like many people, your focus when it comes to your estate plan may be on your will and your trust. While it is important to keep those documents current, it is equally important to keep your advanced directive up to date. This document allows someone to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them on your own.

Five Reasons to Consider Updating Your Advanced Directive

Just like with all other estate planning documents, this is not an instrument that can simply be executed and then forgotten about. Following are five reasons why this is so important:

  1. The person whom you originally appointed to make health care decisions on your behalf may no longer be alive or well. If that individual is unable to serve in the role, your document may be ineffective. Even if you have a backup named, it is important to update the advanced directive to ensure that an additional backup is in place.
  2. As you age, your wishes regarding end-of-life care may have changed. For example, perhaps your original document called for life support to be utilized, but you now wish that it not be started or continued. It is crucial that your advanced directive mirrors your true and current wishes in order for it to work as you intend.
  3. Similarly, as time passes, your opinions on certain medical procedures, such as pain relief, the administration of food and water, or the use of certain types of medications may also have changed. If your advanced directive does not reflect these changes, the person in charge of making decisions on your behalf may not be able to override what it says in the document.
  4. The person whom you originally appointed to make health care decisions on your behalf may no longer live nearby. For example, if your agent no longer lives in California, but you still live in Yorba Linda, it may not be as practical as it once was to choose that person to serve in this important role. Someone who is close by may be able to act more quickly in the event that the advanced directive is needed.
  5. Your original advanced directive may not have included backup agents to step in if necessary. Backups are one of the most important aspects of this form. While you may have a wonderful individual named as your primary agent, you simply cannot predict the future, and this person may be unavailable to serve when needed.

If you are ready to get the ball rolling on updating your advanced directive, we encourage you to contact us today. Initiate a live chat through our website to reach us at any time, day or night.

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