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Get Your Advance Directive Now

What is an advance directive? Why is it so important? Why do people put off creating them? The answer is really quite simple. People don't want to think about end-of-life planning. No one looks forward to thinking about being incapacitated or what their wishes for treatment might be. In fact, only about one-third of Americans have advance directives, which means that two thirds of Americans won't have their wishes followed if something does happen to them.

Advance directives as we know them today have only been around since the mid-1960s. They came into being as a result of concern over patients undergoing unwanted medical treatment in order to preserve life at any cost. Tube feeding, CPR, and ventilator use are just a few of the many topics covered.

The state of Georgia has an Advance Directive Form. The Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care is an attempt to combine the best features of the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care into one written document. An effort has also been made to make the execution (signing and witnessing) of this document easier and more convenient. This four-part document can:

  1. Appoint someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable.

  2. Allow you to express your preferences for specific types of medical care when you are facing a terminal disease or in a state of permanent unconsciousness.

  3. Indicate your preference regarding organ donation and your final wishes (burial, cremation, donation).

  4. Nominate a Guardian if one is ever needed.

Should you use the state-issued form? It depends. Like many state-issued forms, the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care makes generic statements about treatments, which may or may not accurately express a person’s true wishes. Generic forms often leave things out. The advance directive form we use includes blank spaces where you can write in guidance for your agents. We want your wishes to be absolutely clear.

What’s in store for the two-thirds of Americans who lack advance directives? They risk learning the hard way what can happen if you don’t have this important document. Doctors take an oath to save lives, so if you don't offer clear direction that you want to withdraw support or you don't want life-prolonging procedures, you will get them. If you don’t have an advance directive, your family will end up in court fighting over it. It's so much easier for everyone if you create an advance directive now so everyone knows what your wishes are. If you’re not willing to do it for yourself, do it for your family. They will thank you for it.


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