An Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC) sounds like something you don’t want but you really should have one. With this document, you can choose the people you want to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. The people you choose will be your health care agents and they will have the ability to obtain your medical records and speak with your doctors so that they can make informed decisions about your health care when you are unable to make the decisions. Your agents will make decisions for you based on what you have told them and what your ADHC tells them. The Living Will section of the ADHC allows you to make your wishes known if your are in a permanent state of unconsciousness or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes about the life sustaining procedures that you want or do not want to be given to you.
Before 2007, here in Georgia, we had two separate documents, a living will and a health care power of attorney, that dealt with health care decisions. A new law was passed in 2007 that resulted in combining the two documents into one, the Advance Directive for Health Care. A Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care signed after July 1, 2007 are no longer valid because the new ADHC has replaced the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. However, a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care signed before July 1, 2007 are still valid until they are revoked.
Having an ADHC will give you peace of mind knowing that if you cannot make your wishes concerning your health care known, the ADHC will speak for you. Our firm will be happy to assist you with preparing an ADHC and answer any questions you may have about this important document.