People in Georgia may want to include a living will as part of an estate plan. A living will explains the type of medical care a person wants if the person is unable to convey preferences because of illness or injury.
It is different from a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney appoints someone to make health care decisions on behalf of the person if the person is incapacitated. People who have durable power of attorney may be expected to use their own judgment, or the durable power of attorney might be paired with the living will. In the latter case, the person with the durable power of attorney would make sure the person's wishes as detailed in the living will are fulfilled. A living will deals with end-of-life care, but it may go into some detail about preferred treatment. For example, it might cover organ donation and tube feeding.
In addition to making sure a person's wishes are carried out, the purpose of these documents is to prevent conflict between family members over the person's healthcare. They can also allow someone who is not legally related to the person, such as an unmarried partner, make healthcare decisions. Choosing the right individual for this role is important as the healthcare decision-maker may need to be a strong advocate for the person.
There may be a number of other roles in an estate plan. For example, there is usually an executor of a will or an estate administrator. This person oversees the overall process of finding and distributing assets, paying taxes and other tasks associated with the estate. If there is a trust, there will be a trustee or trustees. While an executor usually does not need special legal or financial expertise, a trustee might. Sometimes, a professional may be a better choice for trustee than family member.