Advance directives are documents that allow you to spell out what kind of medical care and treatment you wish to receive in the event you lose the ability to communicate or make decisions yourself. Conveying your wishes before you are too ill to do so can alleviate the burden on your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
A living will and a durable power of attorney for health care are two types of advanced directives. If you validly executed these directives prior to June 30, 2007 they are still valid. However, they have since been replaced by the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care, which includes:
- Health Care Agent - Allows you to designate a person who will make health care decisions
for you if you cannot (or do not want to) make those decisions for yourself.
- Treatment Preferences - Allows you to specify what life-sustaining treatment you want provided, withheld or withdrawn under certain circumstances.
- Guardianship - Allows you to choose the person you wish to have legal responsibility over your personal affairs should a court determine you are not able to make responsible decisions regarding your personal welfare.
Note that you can choose to fill out any or all of the above parts of the form. To make the advanced directive legally binding, it must be signed and witnessed. Be sure to let your loved ones and your physician know that you have completed an Advance Directive and provide them with a copy.
To access the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care form, visit:
- Georgia Division of Aging Services – Go to aging.georgia.gov, click on “About” and choose “Publications.”
- Georgia Legal Aid – georgialegalaid.org
If you have any questions, you may wish to speak with a health care provider or an attorney with experience in drafting advance directives.