Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an Advance Directive?
- What is a Living Will?
- If I execute a Living Will, does that mean I will not receive pain medication or food and water?
- What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
- Do I need both a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
- Do I have to write an Advance Directive under Nevada law?
- Can I change my mind after I write a Living Will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
- What if I fill out an Advance Directive in Nevada and am hospitalized in a different state?
- What should I do with my Advance Directive if I choose to have one?
- I cannot download the Advance Care Planning Document, what can I do?
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is generally a written statement, which you complete in advance of serious illness, about how you want medical decisions made. The two most common forms of Advance Directives are: A "Living Will" and a "Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare."
An advance directive allows you to state your choices for health care or to name someone to make those choices for you, if you become unable to make decisions about your medical treatment. In short, an advance directive can enable you to make decisions about your future medical treatment. You can say "yes" to treatment you want, or say "no" to treatment you do not want.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will, which is also known in Nevada as a "DECLARATION", directs a physician to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. A Living Will only goes into effect under the following conditions:
- You must have an incurable and irreversible condition that without the administration of life-sustaining treatment will result in death within a relatively short time; and
- You are not able to communicate your desires, such as being in a coma.
If I execute a Living Will, does that mean I will not receive pain medication or food and water?
No. Nevada law specifically provides that the execution of a Living Will does not affect the responsibility of your doctor to provide treatment for your comfort or alleviation of pain.
With respect to food and water, you may state in your Living Will that you do not want food and water withdrawn or withhold.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
In Nevada, a "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care" is a signed, dated, and witnessed paper naming another person, such as a husband, wife, daughter, son, or close friend, as your "agent" or "proxy" to make medical decisions for you if you should become unable to make them for yourself. You can include instructions about any treatment you want or wish to avoid, such as surgery or artificial feeding. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care will be in effect whenever you are unable to make decisions. The medical problem does not have to be terminal or incurable.
Do I need both a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
You can execute one or the other, or both of them. A Living Will is your personal statement regarding life-sustaining treatment. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is much broader in scope than the Living Will in that it covers any medical decisions not just a decision concerning life-sustaining treatment.
Can I change my mind after I write a Living Will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
Yes. Both the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can be revoked either orally or in writing. It is better to revoke it in writing, if you are able to do so.
What if I fill out an Advance Directive in Nevada and am hospitalized in a different state?
The law on honoring an Advance Directive from another state is unclear. Because an Advance Directive tells your wishes regarding medical care, it may be honored wherever you are, if it is made known. But if you spend a great deal of time in more than one state, you may wish to consider having your Advance Directive meet the laws of both states, as much as possible.
What should I do with my Advance Directive if I choose to have one?
Make sure that someone, such as your close friend or family member, knows that you have an advance directive and knows where it is located. You should also do the following:
- If you have a Durable Power of Attorney, give a copy or the original to your "agent" or "proxy;"
- Ask your physician to make your Advance Directive part of your permanent medical record;
- Keep a second copy of your Advance Directive in a safe place where it can be found easily, if it is needed;
- Keep a small card in your purse or wallet, which states that you have an Advance Directive, where it is located, and who your "agent" or "proxy" is, if you have named one.
I cannot download the Advance Care Planning documents, what can I do?
If the main link to the Advance Care Planning documnets does not work, try this link to a smaller version of the same file: Advance Care Planning Documents.
Also make sure that your version of Acrobat Reader is 6.0 or above. Follow this link for your free upgrade.
If you still have trouble please call our office at (775) 327-2309 and we will be glad to send you up to 10 copies at no charge. For amounts larger than 10 there is a nominal fee to cover reproduction costs.