While no one can require you to complete an advance directive, preparing one may put your mind at ease. After all, an advance directive clearly states your instructions for future medical care and treatment. If a serious illness or injury renders you incapable of making your own medical decisions, an advance directive can also designate a person to make them for you.
Like with other important estate planning documents, you may need to revisit your advance directive occasionally to be certain it continues to reflect your true wishes. Here are three signs it is time to review and update your existing advance directive.
1. You have a new medical condition
If a doctor has diagnosed you with a new medical condition, your thoughts about medical treatments and end-of-life care may have changed. This may be especially true if you have learned about illness progression and treatment options. Updating your advance directive after a new diagnosis is usually a good idea.
2. You have a new relationship
Hoosiers often use their advance directives to give their spouses or significant others the authority to make medical decisions on their behalf. If your advance directive names someone who is no longer in your life, the document may not do you or your family much good.
3. Some time has passed
As you age, you may see medical matters differently. You also may forget what your estate planning documents say. Consequently, if more than a few years have passed since you drafted your advance directive, it is probably time to take a look at it.
With an advance directive that matches your health care goals, you ultimately retain some control over your medical future. Spending a few minutes revisiting the document ensures your doctors, family members, friends and spiritual advisors honor your wishes.