Georgia Living Will

What is a Living Will and How Does a Living Will Work?

A Living Will is a document that becomes effective when you become too ill to make your own healthcare decisions. The Living Will instructs medical personnel which treatments you would like to either receive or not receive. In Georgia, a Living Will is known as an Advanced Healthcare Directive. This document is an essential part of basic estate planning.

The Advanced Healthcare Directive appoints an individual (which may be known as your healthcare agent) to make decisions for you in your incapacity and also states your desires regarding medical treatment. In other states, this is not the case and you would be required to have two separate documents: a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Keep in mind, that the Advanced Healthcare Directive only allows your healthcare agent to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated or in other words, you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Also, the Advanced Healthcare Directive does not apply to addictive illness, emotional illness or mental illness.

Two key issues to address when drafting your Advanced Healthcare Directive are whether or not you would like to kept on life support if there is a limited chance that you will recover and whether you will include a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order. A DNR Order means that medical personnel will not resuscitate you in the event that your heart stops.

Once you have drafted an Advanced Healthcare Directive, make sure to show it to your family members and medical providers so that they are aware that it exists in case you are hospitalized for a life threatening issue. You can also register your Living Will with the U.S. Living Will Registry, which would allow medical personnel to view your Living Will online.

What happens if you do not have an Advanced Healthcare Directive? If you become too ill to make your own healthcare decisions and do not have an Advanced Healthcare Directive then any medical decisions would be made by a court appointed agent.

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Law Office of
Wendy A. Owens, P.C.
5710 Ogeechee Road #200
Suite 288
Savannah, Georgia 31405
912-927-0705 (Fax)