Some individuals overlook the importance of updating estate plans after an illness or other unexpected event. If you experience an illness, you may wish to revise your will or living trust to prepare for a potential emergency. Because your circumstances have changed, you may need new documents.
Estate plans may include a power of attorney or an advance care directive with instructions for treating medical issues. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, you may need to change these documents so they reflect a new or updated medical diagnosis. A major health change could require careful thought regarding the treatment you prefer to receive.
Some issues to consider concerning end-of-life care treatments
Your legal documentation may include written instructions for health care providers to follow. By discussing your condition with your doctor, you could gather information to include in your plan. You may for example, then describe your preferences for resuscitating a stopped heart.
Estate plans may include instructions for starting or stopping medical devices such as feeding tubes or ventilators. Instructions could also outline preferences for medications, antibiotics or palliative care. The individual named as your authorized personal representative in your advance health care directive may discuss your wishes with your medical team.
Changes in your personal representative’s health or medical condition
As reported by CNBC, events that may require revisions to estate plans include health issues involving your current personal representative. If your existing health care power of attorney lists a personal representative who becomes ill, he or she may not have the ability to effectively communicate your wishes.
Without an authorized personal representative to speak to, physicians may ask your spouse or adult child about the health care you wish to receive. During an emergency, you may prefer to have someone you personally authorized in advance directing your prepared plans and instructions.