What’s an Estate Plan and Why do I Need One?

The truth is, almost everyone has an estate. Cars, jewelry, furniture, pets… anything and everything you own is a part of your estate. At its most basic, an Estate Plan helps you control who you want to inherit your assets, and how they receive them. However, a comprehensive Estate Plan will, and should do more.

A properly planned estate can:

  • Provide for loved ones with Special Needs
  • Take care of you and your loved ones if you should become disabled.
  • Avoid court-supervised Guardianship
  • Avoid Probate Proceedings
  • Help you maintain control of your property while you are alive.
  • Minimize Legal Fees
  • Minimize Long-term Healthcare Costs
  • Give or limit access to your medical information.
  • Carry out your desires once you have passed away.

What Are Power of Attorney Forms?

Durable Power Forms allow you to designate an agent (whether a person, company, or organization) to make certain decisions on your behalf. When a document is titled “durable” it means that it will remain effective even after you have lost capacity (such as in the case of stroke). When you execute a Durable Power of Attorney form while you are of sound mind, hospitals, banks, and the courts will do their best to honor the wishes you have expressed in your Durable Power of Attorney and how much you trust your agent to act on your behalf.

In Nevada, there are actually two kinds of Power of Attorney Forms: (1) Financial Power of Attorney; and (2) Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Financial Power of Attorney (Durable)

A Financial Power of Attorney is a simple and inexpensive way for you to designate a third party to handle your finances instead of having the Court appoint someone.

When you complete and sign a Financial Power of Attorney, you may give your agent as much or as little power as you wish for them to handle your finances. For example, your may give your agent the power to buy, sell, gift, or do whatever they deem appropriate with your finances. Conversely, you can limit your agent’s power to only paying your phone bill. It all depends on how you want to structure your Power of Attorney.

When Does A Durable Financial Power of Attorney End?

In most cases, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney will endure until you revoke it or it ends on a date previously specified in the document. Regardless of your reasons, you can revoke it at anytime (even before the date listed on your document). Once you have revoked your agent’s authority, they can no longer act on your behalf.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (Durable)

A Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to designate a third party as an “Agent” who will who will have the authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make/communicate healthcare decisions on your own.

Completing a Durable Financial Power of Attorney

In Nevada you can also include your wishes regarding “life-sustaining procedures” (how long to keep you alive) should you become permanently comatose, terminally ill, or are otherwise vegetative.

As with the Financial Durable Power of Attorney, you may give your agent as much or as little power as you deem appropriate. For example, you may limit your care to specific doctors, nurses, hospitals, or clinics and nothing else. Conversely, you may leave all of these decisions up to your healthcare agent.

Some severely limit the power of their Healthcare agents because they are afraid their agents will make decisions that override their own desires. Regardless of what powers you have granted your agent, it will not give your agent the authority to override your decisions regarding your own medical care. So long as you have capacity, you are the ultimate authority in making your own healthcare decisions.

When Does A Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney End?

As with the Financial Durable Power of Attorney, you may revoke your Healthcare Power of Attorney at any point so long as you have capacity. Additionally, you can limit the timeframe of the power to a specific period. For example, “My agent’s authority to make healthcare decisions on my behalf is limited to the first incident of my loss of capacity and shall terminate once I am deemed to have regained capacity.”

Completing a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney

Nevada offers a free statutory form online located http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-162A.html#NRS162ASec860
Read the statutes carefully to determine whether the language set out is right for your needs. If they are, simply execute the document and put it in a safe place for your agent. If you are unsure or have questions, it is advisable to speak to an estate planning attorney.

Disclaimer: The foregoing publication is for general informational purposes only, and neither constitutes nor substitutes for specific legal advice or opinions. No recipients of the content should act, or refrain from acting, based on the content without seeking appropriate legal advice. As such, HLC Legal expressly disclaims all liability relating to actions taken or not taken based on any or all contents herein