Terminating your Health Care Documents
It is imperative for all adults to have a living will or health care surrogate (HCS). But, if circumstances in your life change, it is important to understand that you can change your previous written wishes. You will hold the power to ultimately make your health care decisions, even altering your health care documents.
If you wish to change your health care documents, below are a few ways they can be terminated:
• Revoking your documents. Revoking your health care documents is always an option. You can sign and date a letter of revocation, you can physically destroy the original documentation, or you can sign a later document that is materially different from the prior document. If you want to revoke prior designations, you must notify all of your physicians and other health care providers. You should also inform your appointed HCS of the changes.
• Obtain court order. If your health care directives are challenged in court, the judge has the ability to invalidate your documents. This commonly occurs if the judge finds that you did not have adequate capacity to sign the health care directives or that your HCS is not following your wishes. Most courts are reluctant to interfere with health care decisions.
• Divorce. Typically, getting a divorce does not impact your health care directives. There are some states that automatically revoke your spouse from being the health care proxy, which means your alternate agent will take over. Thus, it is essential that you update all of your health care documents when you get a divorce.
• Death. When you die, your health care documents are no longer necessary. It is important to note, however, that your directives can remain effective for limited purposes such as your instructions on how to dispose of your body.
If you have health care documents that are out-of-date, let us help. Whether you have a will or a trust or nothing at all, we, at The Law Office of Diane Anderson, can help you navigate probate and trust termination. This may include assets, debt, tax debt, guardianships and more. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive consultation.