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What are the powers of a health care agent under an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Estate Planning |

In Georgia, an Advance Directive for Health Care lets you select a health care agent.

He or she will act in your place when you are unable to act or if you choose not to.

What powers does your health care agent have?

Your health care agent has the same powers concerning your health that you yourself have.

On your behalf, a health care agent can approve or deny medical treatment for you, admit you to or release you from health care facilities, and make health-care-related financial agreements. He or she can access your medical records and share them and is authorized to be in your hospital room and ambulance (when allowed).

The advance directive usually excludes specific types of care from the agent’s powers. For instance, he or she cannot choose to have you hospitalized involuntarily for mental illness.

You can specify whether your agent — or someone else you specify — has powers to authorize an autopsy, donate your body or organs for medical purposes, and determine your body’s final disposition.

Who can serve as your health care agent?

Your health care agent cannot be one of your health care providers. If you specify your spouse, the appointment will cease if and when you get a divorce. If you are not married when you appoint an agent but then you get married, your new spouse will automatically become your health care agent.

The health care agent should make choices based on what you have told him or her about your preferences and also based on the preferences you specifically choose in the advance directive.