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When to Update Your Advance Directives

Advance directives are an important part of anyone’s estate plan. In the event of a healthcare crisis, an advance directive can prove invaluable. Whether a person becomes incapacitated due to a medical condition, an emergency medical situation, or an accident, an advance directive helps preserve your wishes even when you cannot communicate them for yourself. This can bring much peace of mind in the face of the uncertain future all of us are up against. As important as advance directives are, keeping them updated so that they most accurately reflect your wishes is critical. Of course, it would be impractical to evaluate your advance directives every day. Here, we’ll take a look at when you should go and update your advance directives.

When to Update Your Advance Directives

The two more common types of advance directives that are included in a person’s estate plan are a living will and a medical power of attorney. While both are important and come into play in the event the person who created the documents becomes incapacitated, they both serve separate and unique purposes. A living will, for instance, details the end of life care you wish to receive or not receive. It will often detail what measures you want your treating medical professionals to use or not use to sustain your life should you be in critical condition. On the other hand, a medical power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make medical care decisions on your behalf should you be incapable of making these decisions for yourself.

Drafting an advance directive can be difficult. You will have to confront a number of unpleasant subjects and uncomfortable scenarios. No one really wants to think of a time when they may be rendered incapacitated. It is, however, so important to have these legal documents in place. It is also important that they remain up to date in order to encapsulate your wishes most accurately. This means that your advance directives, along with your estate plan altogether, should be subject to periodic review.

Because simply saying “periodic review” is not necessarily productive guidance on when you should review and update your advance directives, we’ll discuss a couple of specific instances when you should do so. For instance, when you enter a new decade of your age is a good time to review your advance directives. Oftentimes, our wishes change as we age. Who we come to rely on changes as well. This could mean that you want to change the terms of your advance directives or name someone else as your agent under your medical power of attorney.

The death of a loved one or a divorce may also be a good time to review your advance directives. If you designated your spouse as your agent or a loved one who has passed away was your named agent, you will likely want to revisit your medical power of attorney and select another trusted individual to act as your agent. You may also want to revisit your advance directives if your health situation takes a turn for the worst. Experiencing medical problems or being diagnosed with a serious medical condition may make you reevaluate some of your advance directive preferences and provisions.

Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

Need assistance establishing or updating your advance directives? Unique Estate Law is here to help. Contact us today. From within Hennepin County, Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Chanhassen, and Excelsior.