Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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Why You Need an Advance Directive for Health Care

Do you have an advance directive for health care (this used to be called a living will)?

Advance Directive for Health CareLike this other post (which was asking if you have a will – you do, don’t you?), if the answer to that question is anything other than a loud and enthusiastic YES, you need to get in touch with my office pronto.

So, the next question you have to be asking is “why does a probate attorney care if I have an advance directive?  Everyone knows that those things terminate on death.”  Good question.  Thanks for asking.

First, this is a large area of confusion and a common question in my office.  Advance directives DO terminate on death.  In short, they expire when the patient does.

Second, and more important, you need an advance directive to save your family from having to make some of THE most difficult decisions they will every have to make.  Such as, if you are in a vegetative state, should your family instruct the doctor to keep you alive as long as possible, or to unplug you from the machines and let you die a natural death?  Take a moment and really consider how you would feel if you had to make that decision on behalf of someone very close to you without any indication from them about what they would want.  How would you make the decision?  Would it be easy

That’s where an advance directive for health care comes in.  This document (which was created by the Georgia Legislature and which all health care facilities accept and recognize) allows you do designate a person to make tough decisions for you if you cannot communicate with your doctors.  The advance directive also allows you to give guidance to that person so that they can carry out YOUR wishes instead of having to make the decision himself or herself.

Going back to our hypothetical, how much easier would it be to decide whether to allow the doctors to prolong your loved one’s life or to let them die a natural death if you had previously talked to them, and he or she had written their wishes down?  That’s why you need an advance directive.

If you are not sure where to get one, contact our office and we will get you to the right person.

Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate lawyers provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we understand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & CEO

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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