Health Care Directives Let You Control Future Medical Decisions

Estate planning is about control: Putting a plan in place allows you to control certain issues even when you are impaired or have passed away. Health care directives are the part of estate planning that provides guidance about medical decisions to be made on your behalf if you are unable to act. 

Despite the importance of health care directives, studies have suggested that only about a third of the population has executed these documents. If you fall into this category, consider taking more control of your future by working with a qualified attorney to create the Nevada documents that act as your advance directives – a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and a Declaration.

While these matters can be difficult to discuss, advance care planning is an opportunity to map out the care you want to receive if a life-threatening injury or illness makes it impossible for you to express your wishes at some future time. Deciding what is important to you and choosing an agent to make those decisions will document your values, goals, and wishes related to critical and end-of-life care. 

By statute, a Nevada Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions must follow a specific format and allows you to confirm certain statements about desired medical care. In this form, you can indicate the situations in which you want to receive life-sustaining treatment and whether your agent should seek treatment even when there is no hope for recovery or long-term survival.

In Nevada, a “Declaration” is the statutory form that sets out your wishes for treatment in the face of an incurable and irreversible condition that, in your health care provider’s opinion, will imminently cause death. Informally referred to as a “Living Will,” this document lets you designate whether you want treatments administered that will serve only to prolong the process of dying and are not necessary for comfort or to alleviate pain. You are also able to designate the person(s) you wish to oversee these decisions.

When you fail to create a written directive, the State of Nevada prioritizes who can act on your behalf as follows: (1) your spouse; (2) an adult child, or a majority of adult children who are reasonably available for consultation if you have more than one child; (3) your parents; (4) an adult sibling, or the majority of them who are reasonably available for consultation if you have more than one; and (5) the next nearest adult relative (by blood or adoption) who is available for consultation. There are a lot of presumptions built into this list, which may, or may not, suit you. 

As with most aspects of estate planning, if you do not make a plan, the State of Nevada has one for you. If you would rather take control of those matters, you can; contact our office for a free consultation. We believe your estate plan should reflect your wishes and desires so you can have the peace of mind you deserve.