There are not too many people that would like to dwell on what their life would be like in the event that they become incapacitated due to old age, an illness or a serious accident. However, it's imperative that proper precautions are taken when you are capable of making your own decisions, rather than leaving important decisions about your life and health in the hands of others.
When health care options aren't resolved prior to incapacity, your preferences for the kind of treatment you would want to be provided or your recommendation for who should direct your care will not be considered. These matters will be passed off to spouses or family members, physicians, or even judges. If your medical wishes are not stated within a document called an “advanced directive”, decisions that will drastically affect your life and future could possibly be made by people who know very little about you or your desires.
What is an Advanced Directive?
An advanced directive is a legally valid document that contains the actions a person wishes to take for their health before they are unable to make decisions on their own behalf. This document is especially useful in emergency medical circumstances, or when an individual is getting ready to pass on.
Each state has different laws regarding advanced directives, as well as different steps that need to be taken to successfully create this type of document.
Elements of an Advanced Directive in Nevada
The two most common forms of an advanced directive are living wills (also known as a declaration) and a power of attorney for health care. Nevada allows citizens the option of selecting either option or both, depending on an individual's needs.
Nevada Living Will / Declaration
The state requires a written statement that contains details of the type of care preferred by an individual in the event of incapacitation. The declaration becomes effective when your attending physician determines the following conditions are met:
- You are incapable of making decisions about the use of life-sustaining treatment
- You have a terminal condition
A terminal condition is defined under Nevada Revised Statute 449.590 as an “incurable and irreversible condition that, without the administration of life-sustaining treatment,” will ultimately “result in death within a relatively short time.”
Nevada Health Care Power of Attorney
This document requires you to name someone you trust, called an agent, to make health care decisions on your behalf when you can no longer speak for yourself. Applicants are able to also express their desires on this part of an advanced directive to help guide their agent, if necessary. A power of attorney goes into effect when a physician concludes that you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.
Experienced Nevada Advanced Directive Attorneys
Although the aid of a legal representative isn't mandatory when completing these documents, a seasoned attorney could help to advise on the different problems that could arise with advanced directives and draft a document that properly conveys your wishes. If you are seeking to create an advanced directive, contact the Jacks Law Group for a free consultation today.