The term Advance Health Care Directive often gets thrown around and interchanged with a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, but they are not the same thing. The Advance Health Care Directive actually replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and allows you to not only appoint a health care agent to act on your behalf but also to give instructions about your own health care choices. If your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) was executed before 1992 when the laws changed, then your DPAHC has expired and needs to be replaced.
Now if you’re like most people you are getting frustrated right now with the news that you need to get a new Advance Health Care Directive. But realistically, 1992 was 22 years ago, and undoubtedly some things have probably changed in your world in the last two decades. Minor children have grown up and now can be trusted to make decisions for you, parents may have passed away or friends may have changed. So if you haven’t already updated your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, now is the time to address the situation.
And if you are going to make an appointment and come into the office to make changes to health care documents, it makes sense to discuss changes to your Durable Power of Attorney, Living Trust and Will for precisely the same reasons. Because if it has been 20 years since you thought about these documents, it’s time to revisit your decisions and appointments. Not to mention there have been a few changes and even dare I say, improvements in the law over that period of time and it may be to your benefit to have some of that language included in your legal documents.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the office.