Much like other estate planning documents outside of an irrevocable trust, you can change your advanced care directive at any time. However, how you approach the process of making changes is important for maintaining this as a legally valid document. If you want to make changes you need to create a new form, distribute new copies of this form, and destroy all old ones.
There may be additional specific requirements to update your form based on the state where you live, so always check with a lawyer first to get complete clarity on these complex issues. Discuss any changes that you intend to make directly with your primary care doctor and make sure that you have a copy of your new directive in your medical file. Talk to your family and friends and health care agent about any changes you have made. Some of the most common situations for updating an advanced care directive include;
- A change in marital status, which prompts you to update the agent
- A once a decade review if your thoughts about end-of-life care have changed
- A new diagnosis that significantly alters your life or is terminal
For more information about the process of creating an advanced directive, and how to align this with your individual needs, set aside a time to speak with a dedicated estate planning lawyer in Pasadena, CA.