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Advance Health Care Directives 101

How Often Should I Revisit My Advance Directives?

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Things change -- including our beliefs and our relationships to people.

To avoid the problem of medical personnel questioning whether a document which is years old still reflects your wishes, it is advisable to re-execute your documents every year. If not every year, at least every two years. The re-execution can be as simple as signing your name to the document again and adding the date.

It is also a good idea to revisit your documents: 

  • If there is a significant change (for better or worse) in your health condition.
  • If you or an appointed decision-maker change opinions about treatment
  • People you know or people in the news experience a situation which could be covered by an Advance Directive and you want to check to see how your documentation would cover the situation.

If your views change, rip up the old document, execute a new one, and give it it to the appropriate people. Let everyone who has a copy of your old directives know there are new ones.

It is also advisable to speak with the people you appointed as Proxy and as Alternate at least once a year to remind them of your wishes and to be sure they are still agreeable to (and capable of) doing what you want.

NOTE: Consider setting a date on your calendar to remind you to revisit your Advance Directives. Roll the reminder from year to year.

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