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The Medical Directive: You’re Allowed To Change Your Mind

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Let’s say you created a medical directive that includes a living will, Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) for health care, Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR) and perhaps a few other instructions…

The question I get asked most often, once these documents – especially the medical directive – are completed is… what if I want to change my mind?

The answer is simple.

As long as you are mentally competent, meaning you are not suffering from Alzheimer’s, you’re not in a coma or in a drug induced state, you can change your mind and change your medical directive as you wish.

Even if you are in the hospital and you decide you want to change your health care instructions, you can. Simply make this desire known to your doctor. Keep in mind that your changes must be made, signed and notarized according to the laws in your state. And make sure your doctor and your family members are aware of the changes.

What often happens is that the person one has assigned as their DPA has either become ill, passed or moved and the legal documents have not been updated. So you could find yourself in the position of needing to assign this to someone if you end up hospitalized. Perhaps you’ve also changed your mind about your DNR. Remember, a do not resuscitate order is specifically for hospital staff who are trained to help any patient whose heart has stopped.

If you review your Advance Directives on an annual basis, you may not be in a position to have to change it if you are in the hospital. But even if you are, don’t worry, these documents are only set-in-stone, so to speak, if you are not mentally competent. As long as you are mentally competent you can change your medical directives as often as you like.

If you haven’t reviewed your Advance Directive in a while, now is a good time to do that. If you know your documents need to be updated, there’s no time like the present. Give us a call and let us help you create a Medical Directive or make any changes.


Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!

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