When you initially choose your health care power of attorney, you select someone based on who you know at the time as well as who shares your same feelings about medical care or treatment. Over time, your opinion about those aspects of your care may change, and if so, you need to consider updating your health care power of attorney to reflect that.
You may not need to change the person you have selected as your health care power of attorney if you are sure that you’re both in agreement on the kinds of care that you would need in certain circumstances or if you’re sure that they will abide by your requests, but if you feel that you are both no longer in agreement or have strong opinions about medical care that conflict, it might be a good time to assign someone else to this role.
Major life changes and experiences could give you a change of heart
It’s possible that watching what it’s like for a loved one to be on life support when very ill or seeing the struggle of an elderly loved one trying to use supportive measures to stay alive longer will change your own opinion of what lengths you’re willing to go to survive. You may decide that you no longer want invasive life-support measures like mechanical ventilation or intubation if you need support to breathe. You may agree that you do want to have interventions with certain conditions but not with others.
It’s your right to select the kind of care you want and expect when you’re incapacitated, and your health care power of attorney should support your choices. If the person you currently have selected to help you with this is no longer available to help or conflicts with you over your choices, then you may want to assign someone else and relieve the past choice from the duty.
Your estate plan is supposed to be there to protect you and your wishes. If you feel that something you’ve added to your estate plan in the past is no longer what you want, then you should take steps to change it.