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Functions of Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney for health care (DPAFHC) is quite different from the living will. A living will is a written set of instructions by the person wishing to express the person's intentions regarding life-support decisions. A DPAFHC not only contains certain instructions but also names an agent to make health care decisions in accordance with the instructions and to enforce the person's stated intentions. It covers many more situations than a living will and applies any time a person becomes incapable of making or expressing health care decisions, not just at the end of life. It also allows for the authority to make anatomical gifts (organ and tissue donations). 

As with living wills, the Georgia Code contains the form for the DPAFHC and sets forth the statutory requirements of formality of completion and execution.

If the named agent is available, the DPAFHC will supersede a living will. However, to cover the possibility of the unavailability of the agent, many attorneys recommend the execution of both a living will and a durable power.

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