As medical science has advanced, people in Georgia and throughout the country are living longer. However, the science and pharmaceuticals that support mental function have not advanced as quickly as those that support physical capabilities, and this has resulted in an increased populace of healthy yet cognitively impaired residents in the United States. Due to this, many people advancing in years have begun to consider creating a living will, which can ensure that their wishes about medical care are carried out in the event that they become incapacitated.
When most people think about a living will, they envision a document that will only allow a physician to withhold treatment if a patient is no longer able to make decisions about his or her healthcare. However, a living will can also direct health care providers to use any currently available treatments or techniques in order to treat a disease or condition. Despite common thought, living wills do not legally take effect until it is determined that a patient is terminally ill or in a permanent vegetative condition.
Many attorneys recommend that their clients not only create a living will but also designate a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney has more latitude in that he or she can make decisions before a patient is permanently unconscious or is diagnosed as terminal. Having both in place can help prevent someone from dealing with family squabbles over his or her healthcare, and they can also allow a trusted friend or an unmarried partner to participate in medical decisions.
While it is generally difficult for a person to consider end-of-life or other similar scenarios, the creation of a living will can help ensure that his or her medical wishes are carried out. Many in Georgia seek the guidance of an estate law attorney in such situations. Attorneys who are experienced in this area of law can assist their clients in exploring the legal options available and help them determine the best path to meet their needs.
Source: estate.findlaw.com, “Living Wills: Introduction“, Accessed on Aug. 10, 2016