Having advance directives is good – keeping them fresh is wise

Having advance directives is good – keeping them fresh is wise

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Estate Planning

Good for you if you have already made advance healthcare directives a priority in your estate plan. You have taken the first step in controlling your medical care even if you become incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself.

To better ensure your healthcare documents express your medical preferences through each stage of life, you must work to ensure that they always account for your current condition. Regularly reviewing and updating your advance directives can keep your wishes clear and current.

When should you revisit your directives?

Since these documents serve as a roadmap for your medical care, they need occasional updates to reflect changes in your life’s journey. The following are a few milestones that signal it’s time for a review.

  • Life changes like marriage, divorce, or grandchildren can impact your healthcare proxy or wishes.
  • Serious injury or major medical events like surgery may change your desired level of care.
  • The death or inability to serve of your designated healthcare agent or proxy could leave a substantial gap in your protection.

Declining health, terminal illness or the need for assisted living may also benefit from an overhaul of your advance healthcare directives.

What are your options in New York?

The Empire State recognizes and honors advance medical directives, including:

  • Terms in a living will that outline healthcare interventions and treatments you want or do not want
  • A designated a healthcare proxy authorized to make healthcare decisions in your stead (upon incapacitation)

You can combine these two directives for even stronger protection. New York state also recognizes do not resuscitate (DNR) orders and Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) forms.

Consulting an experienced estate planning representative can add another layer of security to your future healthcare safeguards. They can help to ensure that your wishes are always clearly documented and legally compliant, avoiding any errors that could invalidate your plan.

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