We’re nearing the end of the year, and this time of year, I start getting a lot of new clients. If you’re like these clients, you start to think at the end of the year of all of the things you didn’t quite get done that you meant to. Maybe your estate planning is one of them. So today I’m going to give you one easy thing that you can do on your own, to make you feel good about what you’ve done for your estate planning this year. I’m talking about the advance directive for health care. It’s an easy form, and I use “easy” in a lawyer term, in the sense that it is available online. It is a statutory form, and so if you google “the advance directive for health care Georgia,” you will find it. There are several different places you can get it from, you’ll get 20-billion links. I recommend checking to see when they were last updated because some of them may be an older form, but better something than nothing. On the other hand, it’s not an easy form — I always joke with people that it is a fun form, because in some places you’re initialing things that you want, and on other things, you’re initialing things that you don’t want. However, it is a form that you can print out and fill out yourself. You will need two witnesses, but you don’t need a notary. And, while you may need to google some things, or ask somebody some questions to figure out exactly what stuff means, you don’t actually need an attorney or a doctor or anything else. So, go online, google this form, read it, think about it, find two witnesses, and sign it in front of them. The important thing about this is that you are nominating your health care power of attorney. There are some other options in there that are giving some guidance for your health care power of attorney, but the important thing to remember is that if you are an adult that is over the age of 18 and you are not married, nobody has the authority to make health care decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself. If you’re under the age of 18, your parents can do it. If you’re married, your spouse can do it. However, if neither of those applies, even a long-term relationship that’s very committed that isn’t legally married, that person cannot make health care decisions for you, in case you need them. So this is a very important and very easy thing to do to help take care of yourself and make you feel good about what you got done at the end of the year.
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