Health Directive: Combo Living Will and Healthcare Directive (Part 4)

How Do I Make a Living Will?

As explained before, Georgia passed a statute authorizing and providing a proposed format for the Advance Health Directive.  Georgia does not require that every health directive copy this format exactly.  However, there are certain formalities required of every health directive. Generally and individual may write our Living Will or use a form that is available from a hospital, doctor, attorney, etc.  Georgia law requires that we have two witnesses to our Health Directive. There are also rules for who can or cannot witness our Living Will.  These witnesses must be 1) at least 18 years of age, 2) not related to us; 3) not be a person who will inherit property or money from us, and a person 4) not responsible for paying our medical bills (Note: this does not disallow naming a spouse as health agent).  Also, the first and second witness cannot be our doctor or an employee of the institution where we are receiving care. In other words, an individual should choose someone they trust who will benefit or profit from that person’s death.  The maker of the Living Will must sign it while the witnesses are present and watching.

Georgia law also requires that, if we decide to make a Living Will while a patient in a hospital or resident of a skilled care nursing home, we must have an additional person sign the form. This third witness must be the medical director or staff physician not participating in our care. If we are in a hospital, it must be the chief of the hospital staff or staff physician not participating in our care. Recent changes allow a hospital to designate someone else who is not involved in our care to be the third witness, but this is something the hospital should certify in advance.

These are the general requirements.  In executing a Health Directive there are many provisions within a Health Directive which are commonly misinterpreted or misunderstood.  I recommend that you use a complete and thorough health directive and speak with an estate attorney while executing the document. You should rest certain that the document expresses your intent and that you are comfortable in your estate plan.

Visit to learn more or to execute your document today.


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