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John M. Miles
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Advance Directives is a collective term which is used to refer to a group of documents whereby you make your medical decisions at a time prior to the time when the actual questions arise. The directives are intended to assure that during a time of crisis your wishes will be followed, even though you might not be able to make them known at that time.
Advance Medical Directives in common use in Georgia include a Living Will, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a Do Not Resuscitate Order. A fourth document, a General Power of Attorney completes the package of documents, which will see to it that your wishes are carried out and that your family can do so with the least amount of outside involvement and expense. In the early 2000's the Legislature combined the Living Will Declaration and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care into one document, now called the Georgia Advance Medical Directive. Although they are combined into one document, we will explain them separately here.
Living Will Declaration
The Living Will pertains to the situation at the end of life. The Living Will publishes your desire that in the event you are terminally ill, and your life is being sustained only by extraordinary life support devices, it is you desire that those devices be withheld or withdrawn and that you be allowed to die naturally. The Living Will also makes provisions regarding situations where you are in an irreversible coma or in a persistent vegetative state and expresses your desires regarding the continuation of nourishment and hydration.