A Georgia advance directive form is a document used to record your intentions for health care if you become unable to communicate them yourself. The advance directive describes your preferences for various medical treatments and assigns a health care agent to make important decisions on your behalf.
Your doctor and health care agent must carry out the wishes you record in the advance directive form. Your agent is responsible for making any decisions not specifically addressed in the document and assisting with all aspects of your care.
- Statute: Title 31, Chapter 32 – Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care Act of the Georgia Code.
- Signing Requirements: Your advance directive needs to be signed by two witnesses who are of sound mind and at least 18 years of age. Your witnesses don’t need to be present together or when you sign, but they must be able to confirm that you’ve signed willingly. Additionally, only one of your two witnesses can be employed by or affiliated with your health care facility (Ga. Code § 31-32-5(c)(1)(3)).
- State Definition: Georgia law stipulates that an advance directive for health care is a written document voluntarily executed by a declarant according to the provisions of Code Section 31-32-5 (Ga. Code § 31-32-2(1)).
- Revocation: You can revoke your advance directive by destroying the document, creating a revocation of power of attorney document, signing a new advance directive, telling your doctor that you wish to revoke it, or having an adult witness write and sign a confirmation of your intent to revoke and inform your health care agent. In Georgia, if you assign your spouse as your health care agent, divorcing them automatically revokes their powers. Getting married revokes your health care agent’s powers unless the person you marry is your agent (Ga. Code § 31-32-6).
How to Write
Follow these steps to ensure your advance directive covers all your care wishes according to Georgia law.
Step 1: Choose an Agent
Your agent should be a trustworthy person who knows your values and is able to act on your behalf if you’re unable to communicate your care preferences. According to Georgia law, your health care agent is required to make decisions for you based on their knowledge of your wishes. If they don’t know what you would have wanted in a certain situation, they must act in your best interest (Ga. Code § 31-32-7).
Your agent can’t be your doctor or anyone else directly involved in your health care. In case your primary health care agent can’t fulfill their duties for any reason, you can name up to two backup agents to take over in the order they’re listed in the document (Ga. Code § 31-32-4).
If you only want to assign an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf, you should complete a Georgia medical power of attorney. Conversely, if you want to record your health care preferences without assigning an agent, you should complete a living will. Though the Advance Directive form combines these two documents, you can leave whichever section you don’t need blank, and the form will remain valid.
Step 2: Specify What Health Care Decisions Your Agent Can Make
It’s essential to describe your wishes in detail and talk to your agent about your intentions for treatment, final arrangements, and other important health care decisions so they can act accordingly. Georgia law prevents your health care agent from consenting to your:
- Involuntary hospitalization or treatment as outlined in the Code of Georgia Title 37
Your agent is bound by law to abide by your wishes and act in your best interest. If they are found to be acting against your wishes or neglecting your care, the court can remove their powers.
Step 3: Leave Instructions in Case of Permanent Unconsciousness or Terminal Illness
Use this section to state your health care wishes explicitly. You must indicate how you’d want healthcare professionals to proceed in the following situations:
- If you fall into a permanently unconscious state with very little chance of recovery.
- If you are in an incurable, terminal condition.
Georgia law mandates that if you’re pregnant, this section of your advance directive will not be carried out as you’ve indicated unless the fetus is not viable.
Life-sustaining treatments are meant to support your body with essential functions (like oxygen, water, and nutrition) to delay death. Indicate whether you want your physician to prolong your life or allow natural death to occur. Ensure you understand pain management at the end of life and indicate if you’d like health care professionals to provide pain relief should you need it.
Specify whether you want to donate some, all, or none of your organs and tissues if they can be used for transplant after your death. Take a moment to consider what other common medications and treatments you would or wouldn’t like to receive. You can also use this section to share your personal or religious values regarding health care.
If you don’t want your healthcare agent to make post-death decisions for you (like funeral arrangements), you can include the contact information of the person who should decide your final arrangements. You can include your preferred primary care physician’s contact information in your advance directive form.
You can include an end date for your advance directive if you wish. Otherwise, it will remain effective until your death, including whatever post-death decisions you authorize your agent to make on your behalf.
You can download a Georgia advance directive form below in PDF & Word format.