An advance directive for health care, also known as living will, durable power of attorney for health care, or advance directive, is a legal document that allows an individual (Principal) to specify what medical actions should be taken if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity and may also allow the Principal to appoint a person to make decisions on the Principal’s behalf when they are incapacitated. Advance Directives give an individual the opportunity to determine who will make decisions in the event he or she is unable to do so and to specify the type of treatment he or she wants at the end of life.

Georgia’s Advance Directive for Health Care includes four parts:

  • Part I – Naming the Health Care Agent. In this Part, the Principal names their agent, has the ability to name backup agents, and can also make decisions regarding final disposition of the Principal’s body, organ donation, body donation and autopsy.
  • Part II – Treatment Preferences. Here, the Principal can state his or her treatment preferences in the event of a terminal condition or permanent unconsciousness.
  • Part III – Guardianship. In this Part, the Principal has the ability to nominate their Agent or someone else to serve as their guardian in the event the Principal needs a guardian.
  • Part IV – Effectiveness and Signatures. Here, the Principal can either make the directive effective immediately or for a specific time period. Additionally, the Principal and two witnesses must sign the document for it to be effective.

We work with individuals and families to develop estate plans. Each individual’s needs are unique and this article only provides an overview of one aspect of estate planning. For more detailed information and to discuss your specific case, call us today at (678)781-9230 or email us at to schedule an appointment.