Advance Health Care Directive

Thoughtful Assistance For Difficult Decisions In Gainesville

At the law office of J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., we know that a well-thought-out estate plan should include provisions for health care decisions to be made at a time when you are unable or unwilling to make those decisions yourself. People don't want to think about dying or what might happen to their families if they become gravely ill. But making your wishes known in advance can greatly reduce the stress and emotional pain your loved ones experience in the event that you sustain a fatal injury or illness.

Helping You Stay In Control Of Your Destiny

In Georgia, an advance directive for health care allows you to choose the level of medical care you want when you are no longer able to communicate with doctors or your family. We realize that drafting such a document can be emotionally trying, and Gainesville attorney J. Kevin Tharpe is committed to giving you the personalized legal guidance and sound advice you need.

An advance directive for health care has four parts:

  • In Part One, you can specify a health care agent -- a family member or other trusted party -- to make health care decisions on your behalf. If you don't specify a health care agent, your physicians will still follow the treatment preferences you specify in Part Two.
  • In Part Two, you define your preferences for treatment if you have a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. This part only takes effect if you are unable to otherwise communicate your wishes. You can specify that your life should be extended as long as possible by reasonable medical means or that your natural death should be allowed to occur. You can also specify any exceptions or particular measures that should not be taken, such as a blood transfusion.
  • In Part Three, you may nominate an optional guardian to be appointed if the court finds that you are unable to make significant responsible decisions for yourself concerning your personal support, safety or welfare. Your guardian can be the same person as your health care agent, but it is not required.
  • In Part Four, you sign and specify the effective date. Your signature must be witnessed by two impartial observers, who must also sign the advance directive.

You should make several copies of the document. Copies should be given to your family members and to your doctors. The original should be kept in a place where someone will find it, such as with your other important documents.

What If I Already Have A Living Will Or Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care?

As of June 2007, advance directives for health care replaced living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care under Georgia law. However, if you already have a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care, you are allowed to keep that form of health care directive and it is still legally valid until you revoke it. The advantage of the advance directive for health care is that it combines into one document the features of a living will and the features of a durable power of attorney for health care.

Gainesville Estate Planning Attorney Can Answer Your Questions About An Advance Directive For Health Care

Feel confident that your future health care wishes are known by your doctors and family. Call the law firm of J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C. in Gainesville and Young Harris at 866-253-6994 or contact us online for a consultation.