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Revoking Your Health Care Directive

If you have a change of heart and want to revoke or cancel your health care documents, you can do so at any time.

If you want to revoke the appointment of your health care agent (or an alternate agent), most states require that you either deliver a written notice to your agent and health care providers or personally inform your primary physician that you no longer want your agent to serve. You may revoke other health care choices simply by informing or demonstrating to your health care providers and others who know about your wishes that you want to revoke them.

Revoke Your Health Care Directive in Writing.

The best practice is to revoke any document in writing—if you are well enough to do so. You should also tear up the original document and ask anyone who has a copy to return it to you to be destroyed. The program will print a revocation form that you can keep for later use, if you need it.

As a practical matter, even if you prepare a written revocation, it is important to tell everyone who knows about your document that you have revoked it. And if you registered your documents be sure to update or remove your registry.

A revocation document prints with your health care directive. If you no longer have that revocation, you can make a new one by returning to the program and opening your health care directive. Choose "Preview and Print Your Health Care Documents," then check the "Notice of Revocation" box and click "OK." The program will generate a notice for you to print. If you want to revoke a health care directive other than one you made with WillMaker, you can do so by visiting the All Documents screen. Choose "Estate Planning" and then select "Revocation of Health Care Directive" to create and print a revocation form.

A New Document Overrides an Old One

If there is more than one health care directive, and there is any discrepancy between the two, the statements in the most recent one win. Technically, there is no need to formally revoke an earlier document. However, confusion may arise if an old document still exists—for example, if it covers issues on which the newer document is silent. For this reason, you should do all you can to make sure your old document is clearly revoked and destroyed. And of course, you should make sure that your new document is properly finalized, that you give it to your doctor and your health care agent and that it is placed in your medical records.