Advance directives don't expire, but they can be invalidated if you create new advance directives. It is wise to review your advance directives periodically to ensure that they continue to reflect your wishes. Advance directives remain in effect until you change them. If you complete a new advance directive, you invalidate the old one.
An advance health care directive authorizes the person you choose (called a health care representative) to make health care decisions for you if you have an accident or become sick or disabled so that you cannot make those decisions yourself. Some states have passed family agency laws that choose which family members (listed in order of priority) can act on a patient's behalf if they don't have advance directives. While you don't need an attorney to fill out an advance directive, your advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as you sign it in front of the required witnesses. Give copies of your advance directives to your agent or agent, family and friends they would contact if you become seriously ill.
Advance directives don't have an expiration date, so review them every five or 10 years and review them if your situation or health changes. You should talk to your family, your healthcare professional, your lawyer, and any factual agent or lawyer you designate about your decision to make one or more advance directives. In serious emergencies, health care workers may not be aware that you have advance directives before receiving emergency medical care. Give copies to your doctor and bring a copy if you go to the hospital so that advance directives are part of your medical record.
If you don't have an advance directive, someone may need to go to court and be appointed as your guardian to make health care decisions for you. You must also provide copies of your advance directives to the people you have designated to make health care decisions for you, and you may want to give copies to your family members. If you change or cancel your advance directives, be sure to let your health care team, your loved ones, and your health care agent know and replace any copies of advance directives you have given them with the new one. If you get too sick to make your own health care decisions, advance directives can help you do it for you.
And you're only half done until you discuss and share your advance directives with others and keep your document in a safe and accessible place. Attorneys at The Elder Law Firm discuss advance directives and review forms with clients as part of the estate planning process. If you decide to have one or more advance directives, you must inform your health professionals and provide them with copies of any advance directives you have. If you have any type of advance directive, let your health care team know and make sure they have it on their records.