Changing or Updating Your Documents

You may change or cancel your advance directives at any time, as long as you are considered of sound mind to do so. Being of sound mind means that you are still able to think rationally and communicate your wishes in a clear manner. Your changes must be made on the advance-directive forms that comply with your state’s laws. Discard the original and copies of advance directives that no longer reflect your wishes. Make sure that your doctor and any family members who knew about your directives are aware that you have changed them, and give copies of your new documents to your doctor, health-care agent, clergy, family members, or trusted friends.

You should update your advance directives if your wishes change, if you move to a different state, and if the person you named as your health-care agent becomes unable to supervise your wishes or you no longer want that individual to serve in this capacity. You should also consider preparing new documents if you made and finalized documents many years ago.

Lesson Contents

I. Introduction

II. Advance Directives for Health Care

a. Living Will
b. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
c. Obtaining Advance Directive Documents for Your State
d. Storing Your Advance Directives for Health Care
e. Changing or Updating Your Documents

III. Starting an Advance Directive Discussion

V. Learn More


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Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you organize important household papers and begin preparing your estate plan.