2020 Georgia Code
Title 31 - Health
Chapter 32 - Advance Directives for Health Care

Cross references.

- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, T. 31, C. 39.

Impact of anatomical gift on an advance directive for health care, § 44-5-159.

Editor's notes.

- Chapter 32 was added to Title 31 by both Ga. L. 1984, p. 1477, § 1, and by Ga. L. 1984, p. 1680, § 1. The former was set out as former Chapter 32 and the latter was redesignated as Chapter 33 by Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 31.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 133, § 2/HB 24, effective July 1, 2007, repealed the Code sections formerly codified at this chapter and at Chapter 36 of this title and enacted the current chapter. The former chapter consisted of Code Sections 31-32-1 through 31-32-12, relating to living wills, and was based on Ga. L. 1984, p. 1477, § 1 and Ga. L. 1985, p. 455, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 445, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1987, p. 322, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 1182, § 1, 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 94, § 31; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1926, §§ 1-7; Ga. L. 1993, p. 91, § 31.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 133, § 1/HB 24, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "(a) The General Assembly has long recognized the right of the individual to control all aspects of his or her personal care and medical treatment, including the right to insist upon medical treatment, decline medical treatment, or direct that medical treatment be withdrawn. In order to secure these rights, the General Assembly has adopted and amended statutes recognizing the living will and health care agency and provided statutory forms for both documents.

"(b) The General Assembly has determined that the statutory forms for the living will and durable power of attorney for health care are confusing and inconsistent and that the statutes providing for the living will and health care agency contain conflicting concepts, inconsistent and out-of-date terminology, and confusing and inconsistent requirements for execution. In addition, there is a commendable trend among the states to combine the concepts of the living will and health care agency into a single legal document.

"(c) The General Assembly recognizes that a significant number of individuals representing the academic, medical, legislative, and legal communities, state officials, ethics scholars, and advocacy groups worked together to develop the advance directive for health care contained in this Act, and the collective intent was to create a form that uses understandable and everyday language in order to encourage more citizens of this state to execute advance directives for health care.

"(d) The General Assembly finds that the clear expression of an individual's decisions regarding health care, whether made by the individual or an agent appointed by the individual, is of critical importance not only to citizens but also to the health care and legal communities, third parties, and families. In furtherance of these purposes, the General Assembly enacts a new Chapter 32 of Title 31, setting forth general principles governing the expression of decisions regarding health care and the appointment of a health care agent, as well as a form of advance directive for health care."

Law reviews.

- For article, "The 'Right to Die' in Georgia," see 20 Ga. St. B. J. 68 (1983). For article, "The Georgia Living Will," see 21 Ga. St. B. J. 15 (1984). For article, "An Overview of Georgia's Living Will Legislation," see 36 Mercer L. Rev. 45 (1984). For annual survey on wills, trusts, and administration of estates, see 36 Mercer L. Rev. 375 (1984). For article, "Right to Die Legislation: The Effect on Physicians' Liability," see 39 Mercer L. Rev. 517 (1988). For article, "If Nancy Cruzan Had Lived in Georgia: A Summary of Georgia Law Regarding the Right to Die," see 27 Ga. St. B. J. 194 (1991). For article, "Experimenting with the 'Right to Die' in the Laboratory of the States," see 25 Ga. L. Rev. 1253 (1991). For article, "Medical Decision-Making in Georgia," see 10 Ga. St. B. J. 50 (2005). For article, "Are There Checks and Balances on Terminating the Lives of Children with Disabilities? Should There Be?," see 25 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 959 (2009). For article, "Exploring the Right to Die in the U.S.," see 33 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 1021 (2017). For article, "Unbefriended and Unrepresented: Better Medical Decision Making for Incapacitated Patients Without Healthcare Surrogates," see 33 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 923 (2017). For article, "Ending-Life Decisions: Some Disability Perspectives," see 33 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 893 (2017). For article, "Distinctive Factors Affecting the Legal Context of End-Of-Life Medical Care for Older Persons," see 33 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 869 (2017). For note, "Amendments to the Living Will Statute: Two Down and One to Go," see 23 Ga. St. B. J. 99 (1987). For note, "Incubating for the State: The Precarious Autonomy of Persistently Vegetative and Brain-Dead Pregnant Women," 22 Ga. L. Rev. 1103 (1988). For note, "Determining Patient Competency in Treatment Refusal Cases," see 24 Ga. L. Rev. 733 (1990). For note, "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide: Comparing and Contrasting Washington's Death with Dignity Act and Pharmacy Regulations After the Ninth Circuit's Decision in Stormans, Inc. v. Wiesman," see 52 Ga. L. Rev. 613 (2018). For comment, "The Expense of Expanding the Right to Die: A Trilogy," see 5 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 117 (1988). For comment, "Living Will Statutes in Light of Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health: Ensuring that a Patient's Wishes Will Prevail," see 40 Emory L.J. 1305 (1991).


Applicability to patients who have "terminal conditions."

- The former Living Will Act applied to patients who had "terminal conditions" and who wish to exercise the patients' rights to refuse medical treatment by the withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures. State v. McAfee, 259 Ga. 579, 385 S.E.2d 651 (1989).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 22A Am. Jur. 2d, Death, § 511 et seq.

Time of Death - Medicolegal Considerations, 16 POF2d 87.

Proof of Basis for Refusal or Discontinuance of Life-Sustaining Treatment on Behalf of Incapacitated Person, 40 POF3d 287.


- Judicial power to order discontinuance of life-sustaining treatment, 48 A.L.R.4th 67.

Living wills: validity, construction, and effect, 49 A.L.R.4th 812.

Tortious maintenance or removal of life supports, 58 A.L.R.4th 222.

Propriety of, and liability related to, issuance or enforcement of do not resuscitate orders, 46 A.L.R.5th 793.

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