When to review an advance directive

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Estate Planning

An advance directive is a document you create to give instructions about the treatment you want to receive in the event that you become incapacitated and are no longer able to make your own medical decisions. It can also name a health care representative to make decisions on your behalf.

It is possible to review your advance directive from time to time and make changes as necessary. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some good times to review your advance directive.

At 10-year intervals

It is a good idea to make a habit of reviewing your advance directive on a regular basis. If you make a point of reviewing it every time you pass a milestone birthday that ends in zero, it makes it easier to remember to make the review even when you are busy with other life concerns.

After a change in marital status

After you marry, you may want to name your new spouse as a health care representative. In the event that your spouse predeceases you, you would obviously have to remove him or her as a health care representative as he or she is no longer available to speak on your behalf. You may also want to change your advance directive to choose a new health care agent if you divorce or separate from your spouse.

Upon receiving a new diagnosis

As a relatively young, reasonably healthy person, you may want your health care providers to make every effort to keep you alive. However, if you receive a terminal diagnosis, you may decide to allow nature to take its course. You can change your advance directive to reflect this.

As long as you retain mental capacity, it is always possible to revise your advance directive so that it accurately reflects your wishes, even if you change your mind at some point.