2021 Georgia Code
Title 31 - Health
Chapter 32 - Advance Directives for Health Care
§ 31-32-5. (See Editor's notes.) Execution; Use of Form or Other Forms; Witnesses; Copies; Amendment
- Any person of sound mind who is emancipated or 18 years of age or older may execute a document which:
- Appoints a health care agent;
- Directs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or the withholding or withdrawal of the provision of nourishment or hydration when the declarant is in a terminal condition or state of permanent unconsciousness; or
- Covers matters contained in both paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.
Such document shall be in writing, signed by the declarant or by some other person in the declarant's presence and at the declarant's express direction, and witnessed in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section.
- When a document substantially complying with Code Section 31-32-4 is executed in accordance with this Code section, it shall be treated as an advance directive for health care which complies with this Code section. No provision of this chapter shall be construed to bar a declarant from using any other form of advance directive for health care which complies with this Code section. A document covering any matter contained in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section which was executed in another state and is valid under the laws of the state where executed shall be treated as an advance directive for health care which complies with this Code section.
- An advance directive for health care shall be attested and subscribed in the presence of the declarant by two witnesses who are of sound mind and at least 18 years of age, but such witnesses do not have to be together or present when the declarant signs the advance directive for health care.
- Neither witness can be a person who:
- Was selected to serve as the declarant's health care agent;
- Will knowingly inherit anything from the declarant or otherwise knowingly gain a financial benefit from the declarant's death; or
- Is directly involved in the declarant's health care.
- Not more than one of the witnesses may be an employee, agent, or medical staff member of the health care facility in which the declarant is receiving health care.
- A physician or health care provider who is directly involved in the declarant's health care may not serve as the declarant's health care agent.
- A copy of an advance directive for health care executed in accordance with this Code section shall be valid and have the same meaning and effect as the original document.
- An advance directive for health care may be amended at any time by a written document signed by the declarant or by some other person in the declarant's presence and at the declarant's express direction, and witnessed in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section.
(Code 1981, §31-32-5, enacted by Ga. L. 2007, p. 133, § 2/HB 24.)
For application of this statute in 2020, see Executive Order 04.09.20.01.
A listing of Executive Orders issued in 2020 and 2021 can be found at https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders.Law reviews.
- For survey article on wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 59 Mercer L. Rev. 447 (2007).
Genuine issues of material fact as to whether medical defendants made a good faith effort.
- Trial court properly denied summary judgment to the medical defendants on the immunity question under the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care Act, O.C.G.A. § 31-32-1 et seq., specifically O.C.G.A. § 31-32-10(a)(2), because genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether the defendants made a good faith effort to rely on the directions and decisions of the patient's health care agent under the Advance Directive in carrying out the March 7 intubation. Doctors Hosp. of Augusta, LLC v. Alicea, 332 Ga. App. 529, 774 S.E.2d 114 (2015), aff'd, 299 Ga. 315, 788 S.E.2d 392 (2016).