Nebraska Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care: What You Need to Know

Make a Nebraska durable power of attorney for health care and declaration (living will).

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Why do you need a living will and durable power of attorney for health care in Nebraska?

If you become unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age, the right legal documents are your lifeline. When you don't write down your wishes about the kinds of medical treatment you want and name someone you trust to oversee your care, these important matters can be placed in the hands of estranged family members, doctors, or sometimes even judges, who may know very little about what you would prefer.

What are health care forms called in Nebraska?

There are two basic kinds of health care documents that everyone should make. First, you'll need a document naming a trusted person to direct your health care if you are unable to do so yourself. In Nebraska, the official name for this form is a durable power of attorney for health care.

Second, you should make a document setting out the types of medical treatment you would or would not like to receive in certain situations. This document is often known as a living will. In Nebraska, this form is sometimes called a declaration.

Who makes health care decisions for me in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, the person you name to make decisions for you is called your attorney-in-fact. Most people name a spouse, partner, relative, or close friend as their attorney-in-fact. Under Nebraska law, your attorney-in-fact may not be:

  • under the age of 19, unless he or she is married
  • a witness to your durable power of attorney for health care
  • your attending physician
  • an employee of your attending physician, unless the employee is related to you by blood, marriage or adoption
  • a person unrelated to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is an owner, operator or employee of a health care provider of which you are a patient or resident, or
  • a person unrelated to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is presently serving as a health care representative for ten or more people.

What else do I need to know about choosing an attorney-in-fact in Nebraska?

When choosing your attorney-in-fact, the most crucial criteria are trustworthiness and dependability. You might also want to choose someone you think will be good at asserting your health care wishes if others argue against them -- that is, someone who is persistent or calm under pressure.

While you need not name someone who lives in Nebraska, the person you name should at least be willing and able to travel to your bedside if necessary.

Your attorney-in-fact will begin to make health care decisions for you when you lack the capacity to do so. For more information, see Nolo's article Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Health Care: How They Work.

Do I need a lawyer to make health care documents in Nebraska?

You usually don't need a lawyer to prepare documents directing your health care. In fact, state governments have designed these forms for people to complete on their own by filling in the blanks. You can find the health care forms you need for Nebraska in Nolo's Quicken WillMaker Plus software. The software includes detailed instructions for completing your documents and meets all Nebraska legal requirements.

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