Atlanta Advance Directives Attorneys
Legal Insight You Can Rely On
Advance directives for health care (ADHC) are legal documents that specify advance medical instructions regarding your preferred medical treatment and your final wishes for life support. Formerly the Living Will, under the Advance Directive in Georgia, you name a trusted agent and empower him or her to direct your wishes as stated in your document. At Meyring Law Firm, our attorneys in Atlanta want to help ensure that you are able to control all aspects of your personal care and medical treatment even if you become incapacitated.
With an advance directive in Georgia, you can instruct upon receiving specific medical treatment or insist that certain medical treatment is withheld, even if you are not consciously able to make verbally state directions at that time. If you have a terminal condition or are in a permanently unconscious state, the advance directive is very useful for providing instruction to your medical care provider and your family members.
How Do I Create an ADHC?
The Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care Act, which is the foundation for advance directives, provides you with the opportunity to select someone to make health care decisions on your behalf. You can use any form of the ADHC that complies with the Georgia law.
The ADHC must be in writing, signed by you, and signed by two witnesses. Any adult who is considered to be of sound mind can execute an ADHC. It is one of the most powerful and useful estate planning instruments because the only alternative to the Advance Directive in Georgia is Guardianship, which costs a client much more time and expense than a power of attorney.
An ADHC allows you to take the following two actions:
- Appoint your health care agent
- Direct the withholding/withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures
Why Do I Need an Advance Directive?
Advance directives can be useful for a myriad of reasons to a wide range of individuals. Depending on your circumstances, an advance directive may provide the ideal legal protection for you should you expect to incur certain health ailments. Here are some reasons why you might consider creating an advance directive:
- The clearest answer comes in the lack of clarity that medical situations can provide. Simply put, we don’t know what to expect in our lives to make accurate determinations about other health. An advance directive helps insulate from life-changing medical situations.
- Moreover, setting up an advance directive pushes you to confront the difficulties that many prefer to avoid until it’s too late. An advance directive requires you to think critically about your health and decisions that you’ll need to take in order to plan ahead. It’s important to communicate these decisions to your loved ones so they understand the proper and expected steps to take when and if the time comes.
- On the topic of your loved ones, an advance directive limits the burden they have to take when it comes to healthcare decision-making. It allows your doctors to understand your wishes and inform them about your care so that your family is not faced with trying to navigate the stormy waters of the medical field.
- Most of all, an advance directive gives you a voice in matters pertaining to your livelihood when you’re incapable of providing that voice yourself. Sharing these values with your friends and family can ease transitions and allow you to live out your wishes to the best extent possible.
What Are the Types of Advance Directives?
Advance directives can take on many forms, largely depending on state law and individual preferences. Typically you will find advance directives such as a durable power of attorney for healthcare, sometimes known as a health care proxy, and the living will. They might include information specific to health care decisions, such as whether you would like to be resuscitated or be a tissue/organ donor.
The living will advance directive describes future health care decisions beyond someone’s control; they must also be in a state of permanent unconsciousness or have a terminal illness. The living will does not apply if a doctor sees hope for recovery. The living will also describes treatments wanted and when to take steps to prolong life (such as feeding tube insertion). It is a formal legal document, signed by the patient with witnesses outside of potential heirs. It is more limited than the health care power of attorney, only taking effect when faced with terminal conditions, and may only cover certain health care situations. Likewise, you typically can’t choose a proxy to make decisions for you.
The durable power of attorney for health care is a bit more iron clad, allowing you to assign proxies to speak with doctors and grant health care decision-making powers to another individual. Some requests depend on state laws, but overall this document expands the scope of powers for an advance directive.
Selecting a Health Care Agent
In your ADHC, you can appoint an individual to act on your behalf to make decisions regarding:
- Consent to a specific type of healthcare
- Refusal of a specific type of healthcare
- Withdrawal of a specific type of healthcare
Appointing a health care agent is not mandatory. If you desire, you can have your ADHC only express your preferences for treatment. At Meyring Law Firm, we understand that making these decisions ahead of time can be very difficult, so let us simplify the process and explain all of your options.
Let Us Help You Choose the Right Advance Directive
The attorneys at Meyring Law have years of experience in creating and managing advance directive documentation. We’re ready and willing to work within the framework of your personal situation to help you decide for yourself the best course of action in planning for your future.
These are not easy decisions, nor should they be taken lightly. We’ll walk you through the in’s and out’s of advance directives and provide you with our deep knowledge of applicable state laws specific to your situation. In a no-pressure environment, we pride ourselves on working with our clients to better their livelihoods and prepare their futures against the uncertainty of medical outcomes and estate management.