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Advance Directives

As of July 1, 2007 ~ the New Georgia has replaced the Georgia laws on the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

This document combines the characteristics of both the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare and still allows people to choose for themselves the medical care they want when they are no longer able to communicate with doctors or family.

The changes by the 2007 Georgia General Assembly were made to reduce confusion, inconsistency, out-of-date terminology and confusing and inconsistent requirements for execution, as well as to follow trends set by other states to combine the concepts of the living will and healthcare agency into a single legal document.

Those persons who already have living wills and/or durable powers of attorney for healthcare are allowed to keep the forms they have and those forms are still legally binding until they are revoked. The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare was repealed or removed from the law and the Living Will law was completely rewritten and replaced.

Like the living will, the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare allows for withholding or withdrawing treatment and authorizes a personal doctor to withhold or withdraw certain medical procedures, such as a respirator or ventilator in certain conditions. It also permits one to choose to accept or refuse artificial nutrition or hydration feeding tubes. Like the former durable power of attorney for healthcare, the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare allows one to appoint an agent to carry out many more medical treatment decisions and choose the kinds of medical treatment they do or do not want.

Click here for a copy of the form.

Once the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare is signed, the person should make several copies. The originals should be kept with other important papers, such as your Last Will and Testament. These papers should be kept in a place where someone can find them. Copies should be given to family members and to your doctors. These documents can be revoked at any time.

Making decisions about this document should help individuals and their families rest easier, knowing that their wishes about care are known. The law does not require a person to consult an attorney or a physician when executing these documents, but if someone has questions about them, it is a good idea.

From an October 16, 2007 notice on www.Georgia.gov.

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