GEORGIA ADVANCE DIRECTIVE FOR HEALTH CARE
Karen S. Hindson, Hindson & Melton LLC
In 2007, Georgia created a statewide form known as Advance Directive for Health Care. The legislature intended this document to combine provisions of a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.
How does the 2007 law affect my current living will or durable power of attorney for health care?
The new law does not invalidate a living will or durable power of attorney for health care executed before July 1, 2007. These documents will continue to be valid and will be interpreted under the former law.
What does the Advance Directive for Health Care accomplish?
The form has four parts:
Part One allows you to choose a Health Care Agent - someone to make health care decisions for you when you cannot (or do not want to) make such decisions for yourself. It also addresses decisions to be made after your death, such as autopsy, organ donation, body donation, and final disposition of your body.
Part Two is where you state your Treatment Preferences in the event you have a terminal condition or if you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. Note: this part becomes effective only when you are unable to communicate your preferences. So long as you can effectively communicate with your doctor, you will always be able to make a decision that is inconsistent with what is in your Advance Directive for Health Care – you can personally “override” your advance directive choices.
Part Three allows you to nominate a person to serve as your Legal Guardian in the event a Guardianship is ever needed.
Part Four is your Signature and the signatures of your two Witnesses.
What if I do not want to complete certain parts of the Advance Directive for Health Care form?
You are not required to complete all four parts of the Advance Directive for Health Care. You may fill out any or all of the first three parts described above. Of course, if you want your form to be effective, you must complete Part Four which includes the signatures.
Is this form mandatory in Georgia?
No – other forms for advance directives for health care may be used in Georgia. This form is optional.
May I change my mind once I have signed an Advance Directive for Health Care?
Yes – you may revoke the form if you change your decisions after you sign it.
How does the new Advance Directive for Health Care affect any living will or durable power of attorney for health care I already have?
If you complete the new statutory form, it will replace any advance directive for health care, durable power of attorney for health care, health care proxy, or living will that you have completed before completing the form.
Should I complete the new Advance Directive for Health Care if I already have a living will or durable power of attorney for health care?
That is a personal choice. It is not required that you complete the newer form. However, you may wish to review the form since it is more extensive than similar forms under prior law.
If you have questions about the Advance Directive for Health Care form and how it applies to your personal situation, you may wish to call Hindson & Melton LLC for an appointment to discuss your specific concerns. Call Karen Hindson (770) 939-3936 or Joy Melton (770) 512-8383.