Testators planning their estates in Georgia often create very simple plans. They may only draft a will and no documents that protect them in a medical emergency. However, your estate plan isn’t just about your death but also about the possibility of incapacitation later in life.
If you have Alzheimer’s disease or end up in a coma because you fall at your construction job, you will depend on other people to manage your life on your behalf. Advance directives for health care, which people used to call living wills, are legal documents that help guide the medical care you receive when you cannot speak on your own behalf.
Why might you want to draft an advance directive?
You have specific medical preferences
Maybe you belong to a religion that feels strongly about certain medications because of the use of stem cells and their production or development. Perhaps you do not want to donate your organs when you die or cannot receive blood transfusions.
If you do not have a directive in place or someone to speak on your behalf, the hospital providing your care will defer to its current best practices standard, which may violate your sense of ethics. It is crucial for those with special medical wishes to make their preferences clear in writing if they want others to uphold their wishes.
You are getting ready for retirement
Those updating or creating estate plans because they are preparing to leave the workforce and enjoy their retirement need to think about what might happen when they are unable to speak for themselves and those who might know their preferences are already dead or also incapacitated.
An advance directive helps ensure that there is a clear record of your preferences even if you cannot communicate them to others or if your family situation has changed.
Your health has changed significantly
Those facing a terminal illness or living with a degenerative medical condition may feel strongly about not wanting heroic interventions if they experience cardiac arrest while in the hospital. Whether you would prefer to be made as comfortable as possible with pain medication or feel strongly about refusing it, your diagnosis with a serious medical condition could change your medical wishes or make the need to convey them to others far more pressing.
Integrating the right documents into your Georgia estate plan will protect you regardless of what the future holds.