An advance healthcare directive is a document that offers protection and peace of mind for an adult with health concerns and/or unique personal values. Those facing significant medical challenges may draft an advance directive as they develop treatment plans with their healthcare providers to better ensure that their loved ones will abide by their personal preferences when obtaining treatment for them in the future. Adults with strong views on matters like pain management or the use of certain treatments because of philosophical or religious views are among those most likely to create a healthcare directive to better ensure that the care they receive appropriately aligns with their personal wishes.
Having an advance directive on record is beneficial, but it could eventually become outdated. The following are some of the reasons that those with an existing healthcare directive may want to review and update their paperwork.
Their health situation has changed
One of the most common reasons that people give for updating an advance directive is that their health circumstances have shifted dramatically. Someone without any chronic health conditions may feel very differently about the kind of interventions they would like to undergo in a medical emergency when compared with someone who has a progressive or degenerative condition.
Their personal situation has changed
There are countless scenarios in which someone might recognize that their existing advance directive no longer protects them adequately. Maybe the person that they chose to serve as their healthcare proxy has died or experienced significant cognitive decline. They may no longer be capable of filling that role. A falling out between the two parties could also necessitate the replacement of the proxy previously listed in someone’s paperwork. Those who change their religion or family status may also find that their preferences for treatment change. Having new children may lead people to desire more extensive medical intervention to be available for those children, while losing a spouse or other close relationship might change someone’s feelings about different forms of care as well.
They’ve moved to a new state
Every state has slightly different roles for advance healthcare directives, which means that paperwork drafted in one state may not offer effective protection in another. Those pre-existing paperwork who moved to Georgia during their golden years may find that their existing advance directives require revisions or that they will need to draft entirely new documents that appropriately comply with Georgia state law.
Both putting together the right paperwork and recognizing when it may be time to review and update estate planning documents can help to protect those concerned about their health care and support should a medical emergency arise.