When it comes to the end of life, this can be one of the most trying times for the entire family. There are so many things you wish you would have done, should have done, or things you wish you would have known.
If you or someone you know is going through the end of life, or perhaps you are now just thinking about your own mortality, it is time to sit down, grab a pen, and figure out what will be the best for you.
Advanced Planning for Healthcare Decisions
When it comes to the end of life, you have 4 options, you will want to go over to ensure everything goes smoothly for your loved ones that you will be leaving behind.
These 4 options will be detailed below to ensure you understand what they truly entail to make the best possible decision necessary.
Durable Power of Attorney for Your Healthcare Choices
You might have already heard of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney can also cover your healthcare choices too.
The Power of Attorney is a document which you will sign that authorizes your selected individual to play as your agent and make your health care choices for you when you cannot.
The Power of Attorney is great for those situations when you are in the hospital, but you cannot make your own medical decisions. This typically is due to when you are not coherent, in a medically induced coma, or anything else that affects your brain functions to make educated decisions.
For this Power of Attorney to be valid, if you happen to become disabled, you will need to have a Power of Attorney that is also “durable”. The Durable Power of Attorney will even be valid if you by chance become disabled.
If your Power of Attorney does not contain that language, the proxy you choose will not be permitted to use the Power of Attorney is in the off chance you become disabled.
You will have the full option to appoint whoever you want to make your healthcare decisions for you when you ultimately sign the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions. One of the advantages of the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions will eliminate the need for the formal guardianship.
If you do not have the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions in place and you are not able to make your own healthcare decisions, someone can take this case to court, to have you declared as incompetent and to have the power to make decisions for you. However, this process is very time-consuming and costly, to say the least.
When Does the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions Take Effect?
The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions will come into effect immediately after signing. However, you can also state otherwise, if you do not want it to come into effect right away. You can only do this if you say this prior to signing and you are competent enough to make your own healthcare decisions.
Note: The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions will only be valid if you sign it prior to being mentally incapacitated. It will not be valid if you do not understand the significance or nature of the document.
How Long Does the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions Last?
The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions will be valid if you are alive. When you do die, the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions will die with you.
However, in the change you want to terminate your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions, you can do so at any time but revoking it. You can also execute a new one when you feel it is necessary as well.
Alongside your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions, you can also have an advanced healthcare directive, or a living will. We will be discussing these options next.
Living Will Do Not Resuscitate & Advanced Healthcare Directive
An advanced healthcare directive or a living will be a document that is directing your doctor to either withdraw or withhold any life-sustaining treatment in the case of any irreversible or incurable condition.
One question that is commonly asked when it comes down to a Living Will is whether your doctor is permitted to provide you with pain relief or other comfort things, if the document is executed.
In the Nevada Law the law states that if you have a Living Will, the doctors or other healthcare professionals can give you pain medications and do other comfort measures that they see fit.
If you want to do a Living Will, you must be at least 18 years of age or older and have a sound mind. The Living Will is required to be signed by the creator and at least two other competent witnesses or a public notary.
However, when it comes down to it the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions and a Living will is completely different. The Living Will is a very limited declaration that will only cover the above medical situations, it does not designate a person to make all your medical care decisions.
Do Not Resuscitate Order and Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment
The Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment is another legal document that consists of a physician’s order about various medical interventions for the elderly or those individuals who have a terminal or progressive illness.
The Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment will give the patient’s wishes about the various medical interventions that the patient may or may not want to be used. Essentially, the Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment can consist of medical interventions such as antibiotics, feeding tubes, CPR, etc.
The Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment will be required to be dated and signed by your physician as well-dated and signed by you or your legal representative. It is vital that you make all the decisions in your Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment along with the help of your doctor.
Whenever you receive any sort of treatment, you should always have your Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment with you. If you are getting treated at home, you can keep your Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment on your bedside table, refrigerator, or any other spot where the emergency responders are trained to look at.
The Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment can be used alongside many other legal documents consisting of a Living Will or the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions. In the chance that there is a conflict with these documents, the Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment document will always come first.
For those terminally ill patients, they also may fill out the Do Not Resuscitate Identification document. This document will instruct physicians to withhold any life-saving treatment in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest.
To get the Do Not Resuscitate, you must fill out the application that the state of Nevada provides. You will need it certified from your doctor stating that you are terminally ill or meet the other requirements.
Living Will Lockbox: Secretary of States’
The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions, the Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment, and the Living Will all come with specific instructions for your end of life care. They provide the opportunity to tell your health care professionals along with the rest of your family what you want when it comes down to your life-sustaining treatments.
You will always want to have a copy of your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions, Living Will, and your Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment, if your healthcare professionals doe have access to these documents, even if you have created them, they will not know your end of life wishes when an emergency arises.
This is where the Living Will Lockbox comes in. The Living Will Lockbox is a virtual, secure lockbox where people in Nevada can file a few different directives, including Power of Attorney, Living Wills, and the “Do Not Resuscitate” documents. Designated health care professionals along with family members can have access to this lockbox in case of an emergency where any sort of medical treatment decisions must be made about you.
There is no cost to use the Living Will Lockbox in Nevada.
How to Get Started Using the Living Will Lockbox?
When you have your directive document in hand, you will want to register on the official Living Will Lockbox website, or you can register by mail. The mailing address is
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701
Then between 7 to 10 days after you filed your directive with the Living Will Lockbox, you will get a letter in the mail confirming that they received your documents and they have been securely filed.
Also, in this letter, you will be given a registration number printed on a wallet-size card along with your instructions on how to access the Lockbox.