You may be familiar with terms like a health care power of attorney or living will, but you may not have heard the phrase “advanced directive” until sitting down with an experienced DC and Maryland probate and estate attorney. Just like a living will, advanced directives can guide those you love by outlining your wishes when it comes to matters of your health if incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own. This is a crucial step in end-of-life planning for any individual that will make the ability for your family or chosen representative to care for you under difficult circumstances like a terminal illness or severe injury.
Everyone needs an advanced health care directive. You cannot predict unexpected events like injury or illness, and not having a plan in place can leave your family in a challenging situation legally if they want to help you. This document serves as a communication of your wishes to your medical care providers and family. It may be the only way your voice gets heard when important decisions regarding your health care get made.
State law allows you to revoke your advanced directive at any time so long as you are competent under the law. This feature is what makes this estate planning tool convenient. Having complete control over our health is of critical importance, and advanced directives are flexible, allowing you to update them and make changes at any time. To revoke your order, you will either need to notify those with a copy of it that it is no longer valid, destroy the original, or create a new version and distribute it to those who need a copy of it.
Keep this notification rule in mind when handing out copies of your advanced directives. Every person or medical office that receives it will need to be notified if you rescind, revoke, update or replace it.