Living wills and Health Care Directive
A "Living Will" is actually a written declaration by an individual that he or she doesnot want certain medical procedures utilized to keep him or her alive under certainspecified conditions. The use of a health care directive can reduce the need to proceed with a formal guardianship.
The 5 statements of a Living WillThe Nevada statute that applies to these types of declarations allows an individual to commit to writing his or her desire to have lifeprolonging measures withheld or withdrawn when the application of such procedures would serve only to prolong artificially the process of dying. The Nevada Legislature essentially gave us five standardized yes/no questions to answer in expressing our wishes. One must either agree or disagree with each statement. The language of the questions are sometimes a little
confusing, however this language is mandated by the state legislature and unless they change it, this is what we have to work with. The five statements are:
1.) I desire that my life be prolonged to the greatest extent possible, without regard to my condition, the chances I have for recovery or long*term survival, or the cost of the procedures.
2). If I am in a coma which my doctors have reasonably concluded is irreversible, I desire that
lifesustaining or prolonging treatments not be used. (Also should utilize provisions of NRS 449.535 to 449.690, inclusive, if this subparagraph is initialed.)
3). If I have an incurable or terminal condition or illness and no reasonable hope of long*term recovery or survival, I desire that life sustaining or prolonging treatments not be used. (Also should utilize provisions of NRS 449.535 to 449.690, inclusive, if this subparagraph is initialed.)
4.) Withholding or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration may result in death by starvation or dehydration. I want to receive or continue receiving artificial nutrition and hydration by way of the gastrointestinal tract after all other treatment is withheld.
5.) I do not desire treatment to be provided and/or continued if the burdens of the treatment outweigh the expected benefits. My attorney infact is to consider the relief of suffering, the preservation or restoration of functioning, and the quality as well as the extent of the possible extension of my life.
Each person should consider the options available to them and have a Living Will prepared by an estate planning attorney that implements the individual's desires concerning the utilization of lifeprolonging procedures when he or she is unable to vocalize his or her intentions in this regard.
What is a Health Care Agent?Because of the comprehensive nature of this law, the health care agent is provided with powers that are enforceable by the court. The law also provides for limited liability for both the health care agent and the health provider when the health care agent provides informed consent to the health care provider and all parties are acting in good faith.
A designation of health care agent is a useful estate planning tool and it should be an essential part of every individual's estate plan. With the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") and the issuance of regulations pertaining to HIPAA, access to health information by a health care agent on your behalf has become more difficult. The Privacy Rule promulgated under HIPAA restricts the dissemination of your health care information even to your health care agent. It is, therefore, important that a designation of health care agent reference the HIPAA Privacy Rule allowing your designated health care surrogate access to pertinent health care information on your behalf. In the alternative you can execute a separate HIPPA authorization to release your records to your agent.