Five Wishes: A legal living will in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, Five Wishes meets the legal estate planning requirements for an advanced directive for health care. For many people, putting together an advanced directive can be an intimidating process. Thinking about a future time when you might be ill, and unable to communicate how you want to be treated, is pretty intimidating. Nobody wants to picture that moment – or how they might feel when their life takes that surprising turn. The Five Wishes concept is intended to help clarify your goals, and to make creating a living will or advanced directive more​accessible.

What's an Advanced Directive?

First, let’s take a second to get clear on what an advanced directive is. If you’ve ever cared for an ill or aging parent, you may already be familiar with this concept. However, for many people, it’s new territory to navigate.

An advanced directive, or living will, allows you to dictate how you want to be treated in the event that you can’t communicate for yourself. This could be because you physically can’t respond after getting sick, or being involved in an accident, or maybe you’re unable to communicate your wishes due to a mental condition like dementia.

More specifically, your living will guides medical decisions made about your health when:

  1. You can’t make medical decisions on your own.
  2. You meet a medical condition specified by your state’s law.

When you prepare your advanced directive, usually you want to consider:

  1. What types of life-sustaining treatments you’re open to considering.
  2. What type of treatments you aren’t open to considering.
  3. End-of-life directives.

Unfortunately, the scope of your advanced directive might feel a little bit unclear. If you’re confused about what to include, or what not to include, you’re not alone. Enter: the Five Wishes program. This program can often be an easier way for individuals to legally create an advanced directive that’s straightforward and leaves little room for error.

What is the 5 Wishes Program?

The Five Wishes program was set up to help people talk about what matters most to them as they near the end of their life – or put a plan in place in case of emergencies. Their goal is to have an easy-to-understand document that’s 100% legal to set up, and that cuts to the core of what you truly want in your advanced directive.

Five Wishes is written in accessible, plain-English language. There’s no complicated legalese to understand, which can help you to outline your advanced directive with confidence. Five Wishes covers several areas of your potential end-of-life wishes, including:

  • Spiritual
  • Personal
  • Medical
  • Legal

This document helps you to outline exactly what you want for your own medical treatment, and for the treatment of your wealth, funeral, assets, burial, and more. Filling out a Five Wishes document helps to make this portion of your estate planning straightforward – but it also does more than that.

The last thing you want is for your loved ones, or for a caregiver, to have to guess at your wishes for care or life support. I’ve heard stories from clients, family, and friends, who were in a similar position when their parents or spouses fell ill or suffered an accident, to decide what next steps were for their lives.

No person wants to be in that position. No person wants to make end-of-life decisions for a loved one when they’re unclear about what their loved one wants. The Five Wishes document can help to easily sidestep that dilemma, and make things easier for you and your family during a potentially challenging time.

Setting Up Your Five Wishes

Setting up your Five Wishes document is very straightforward. You can either fill it out online using Five Wishes Online, or you can order a paper copy from their website. The cost is relatively low – Five Wishes Online is $5/copy. They also have family plans, which isn’t a bad idea if you want to get your parents and your spouse or partner on board. This is also a good idea for your adult children.

Is Five Wishes Legal in Georgia?

Yes – Five Wishes is 100% legal as a living will or advanced directive in Georgia. Although it’s not enough to comprise a complete estate plan, it’s a great first start to outline your wishes. However, if you want to complete your estate plan, you’ll need:

  • A will or trust
  • Beneficiary designations
  • A letter of intent
  • Durable power of attorney/health care power of attorney

Need Help?

Are you starting your estate plan? Five Wishes might be a good fit for you. At the very least, it’s a solid place to start piecing together some ideas about what you want for your life and your finances in a worst-case-scenario. As a fee-only financial planner, I’m not an estate planning attorney. However, I’d be happy to suggest an attorney who can help you start your estate planning process, or answer any questions you might have about Five Wishes. Schedule a consultation with me today by clicking here.

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