A Georgia Advance Directive is similar to the Power of Attorney when it comes to affairs of your healthcare. This critical document outlines instructions and future wishes for your healthcare, including decisions around palliative care, life support, and more.
Author: Paul Black
Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: May 23, 2019. Last updated on: August 17, 2021.
The Georgia Advance Directives are necessary documents for anyone living in the Peach State who wants to plan for his or her future responsibly in accordance with Georgia Law. No one wants to consider the potential eventuality of being incapacitated and unable to convey how they wish to proceed, or even if they wish to proceed with their life and post-death decisions. Unfortunately, unexpected things happen to well-meaning people every day.
Even if you have an existing power of attorney and living will, completing the newer form of this document is advised by most elder law and estate planning lawyers, including the Law Office of Paul Black. The forms are readily available and straightforward to fill out.
The History of the GA Advance Directive
To reduce confusion and the use of out-of-date terminology, the Georgia legislature and the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services introduced the GA Advance Directive for Health Care on July 1, 2007. This combined the living will with a power of attorney for health care into one comprehensive and easy-to-understand document.
That way is much easier for responsible Georgia residents to complete the form, thereby sharing their wishes for the future health and life of Georgia seniors and their families.
Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care
According to the Advance Directive, GA for Health Care information found here:
“Before any action can be taken to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining procedures or to withdraw or withhold nourishment or hydration for a declarant in a state of permanent unconsciousness or is in a terminal condition, that condition must be certified in writing. The attending physician and one other physician must personally examine the declarant and certify in writing based upon the declarant’s condition found during the course of their examination and in accordance with current accepted medical standards that the declarant does meet the criteria for a terminal condition or state of permanent unconsciousness as defined above.”
Prior to July 1, 2007, Georgians filled out two separate forms as per Georgia law: a living will and a power of attorney for health care.
- A living will document your treatment wishes
- Power of attorney allows you to name someone to make your healthcare decisions
The individual forms were so complicated that they were relatively ineffective, and not many Georgians actually used them. The contemporary substitute, the Directive for Health Care, is more straightforward, and an experienced power of attorney counselor can always offer advice.
What Does a Georgia Health Care Directive Do?
The purpose of having a Georgia Health Care Directive is to have a legal document on file regarding your healthcare. It enables you to do the following four things:
- Appoint a Health Care Agent
- Express Your Medical Care and Treatment Preferences
- Name a Preferred Guardian
- Share Your Final/Funeral Arrangements
A Health Care Advance Directive, GA, and a lawyer with experience in incapacity planning in Georgia allow responsible adults to prepare for the crucial and hopefully unnecessary events in their lives.
Why Do You Need an Advance Directive GA?
You should have an Advance Directive for Health Care in place to prepare for the unforeseen occasions and problems that life often presents. If something happens, that prohibits you from expressing your wishes and instructions to the hospital, your doctor, and family members, this form will act instead. With these documents, you will be able to communicate and represent your intentions even if you think that you have no powers to do so.
Since your instructions are detailed in an easy-to-complete legal form, it will potentially prevent your family from spending unnecessary money and time arguing about what your wishes might have been. Consulting with an attorney and filing an Advance Directive Form before it is too late will save heartache and future expenses.
What Do You Do with an Advance Directives Georgia?
Once you have completed a Georgia Advance Directive Form, you must sign it along with two witnesses. Then, you need to distribute copies to your healthcare representative, doctors, and any medical center that is likely to treat you.
If your Health Care Advance Directive is not in the hands of those who need to know your healthcare instructions, it is unlikely that the necessary steps will be performed in accordance with your desires. In other words, completing the form will be a waste of time.
These are difficult decisions that many find hard to confront. Consulting with a reputable law firm can provide clarity, support, and understanding.
Understanding the Advance Directive Laws in Georgia
According to these laws in Georgia, you are totally in control of your healthcare instructions. If your desires change at any time, you can withdraw your existing directive and fill out a new one that more accurately expresses your revised wishes. Then, you must notify everyone who has a copy, including your estate lawyer, so they can return their copies to you to be replaced.
Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare
An Advance Directive for Health Care generally includes a variety of types of potential issues. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Admission to or discharge from a hospital, hospice, a nursing home, or other medical care facilities
- Authorizing after-death donations
- Authorizing an autopsy and disposal of remains
- HIPAA requests
- Palliative Care
- Withholding or withdrawing food and water or other life-prolonging procedures
With a Health Care Advance Directive, you can define your medical care for different circumstances. If, however, your wishes are fairly basic, you could choose to leave all your healthcare decisions to your physician and representative to act in your best interest. Your estate attorney can advise you on this matter.
Choosing a GA Advance Directive for Healthcare Representative
When planning your Health Care Advance Directive, you must designate somebody who you trust to act as your healthcare representative. A few of the popular choices for healthcare agents include:
- Immediate family member
- Close friend
- Your attorney
Although it is also a popular option to have two representatives in case one is unavailable, you can’t name any member of a healthcare facility where you might receive treatment, as it could be a conflict of interest.
Georgia Living Will or Advance Directive
Although there are very few differences between a Living Will and a Health Care Advance Directive, the majority of people don’t know what they are. Many do not even know what an Advance Directive is.
Fortunately, a qualified Georgia will attorney can quickly explain the idiosyncrasies of each. Basically, the Advance Directive combines the purposes of the living will and power of attorney for health care.
Difference Between Living Will and Advance Directive in Georgia
So, what is the difference between these documents in Georgia? The living will is a written voluntary document completed in accordance with Code Section 31-32-1. Advance directives are completed with the requirements of Code Section 31-32-5.
Does the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare Override a Living Will?
Many individuals who have already attended this matter wonder, “Does the Georgia Directive for Health Care override a living will?”
As previously mentioned, the Advance Directive for Health Care is the newer, easier, and more comprehensive form that combines the living will with a power of attorney. To override the living will, you would merely need to complete the GA, Advance Directive, destroy every copy of your living will, and distribute the new documents to the appropriate people. This includes your healthcare agent and legal representation.
Filling out a Georgia Living Will Form
Fortunately, as it is such a vital document, filling out a Georgia Living Will Form is relatively easy. This voluntary document directs when and how the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures should occur when and if you are in a coma, persistent vegetative state, or have a terminal condition.
Hiring an Attorney to Assist with Your Advance Directive, GA
All estate planning issues are complex enough to warrant legal advice, and your Advance Directive for Healthcare is no exception. When seeking a knowledgeable and reliable attorney for these types of documents, it is wise to do your homework. Check law office reviews on well-established websites to weigh your options.
Finding an Advance Directive Form Georgia
Given that it is part of the Georgia Code, the Advance Directive Form Georgia is free and available for anyone over the age of 18. You can find a free form here.
When it comes to planning for life-altering situations that you hope to never deal with, it is always best to discuss your options with a qualified lawyer. Contact the Law Office of Paul Black for informed advice regarding elder law and estate planning. Please visit our website to find our contact information and office address to book a free consultation.