THE LIVING WILL LOCKBOX – PROTECTING YOUR WISHES
The Living Will Lockbox is a simple and secure approach to ensure that your medical wishes are followed. Maintained by the Secretary of State’s office, a copy of your advance directive (“living will”) will be kept confidentially and readily available to you, emergency room personnel, and your health care provider, when needed, 24-7.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive, also known as a “living will”, is a document through which you provide instructions about your health care wishes during times when you are physically or mentally unable to express those wishes. It is called an “advance” directive because you make the medical decision for yourself before you become seriously ill. Some examples of advance directives include living wills and durable power of attorney for health care decisions.
An advance directive can provide very specific instructions for end-of-life care and is an opportunity to tell health care professionals and family members what you want as far as life sustaining or other treatment. When health care professionals and others do not have access to a living will or advance directive, they may not know a patient’s wishes.
What is the Living Will Lockbox?
The Living Will Lockbox is a secure, virtual lock box in which Nevadans can file certain directives, including living wills, powers of attorney, and “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders for access by designated health care professionals, and family when medical treatment decisions must be made. The Living Will Lockbox was established by the 2007 Nevada State Legislature.
How will my health care provider know if I have an Advance Directive stored in the Lockbox?
It is important to notify family members and health care professionals that you have an advance directive/living will. Share your wallet card registration number with your loved ones, attorney, and/or health care professionals. Be sure to let them know of any updates in your documents ranging from a simple change of address to a new living will or advance directive. As the registrant you are responsible for ensuring that your registration number is shared only with people who you want to be able to access your Lockbox file. Your health care provider may already have access to the Lockbox and documents as an Authorized Provider. Authorized Providers may access the Lockbox through their own registration and have secure access to the registry and can therefore immediately determine if a patient has a document registered with the Lockbox. Be sure to check with your health care provider to see if they are an Authorized Provider.
Once the Registration Agreement form and copy of the advance directive is received, an electronic reproduction of the advance directive will be stored in the Lockbox. Within 10 business days of submittal, the registrant will be provided with a wallet card containing the registration number to be used for access to documents.
Once you have received your registration card, it is important to keep it with you so that it’s available in case of an emergency or illness. It is also wise to share your registration number with your family, friends or health care providers to ensure that your medical treatment decisions are honored.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care Decisions governed by State law?
Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care Decisions are governed by State law (Senate Bill 314, Sections 56-73). Senate Bill 314, which was enacted on October 1, 2009, repealed the old form for Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care Decisions. The new form for these Powers of Attorney is contained under Section 73 of Senate Bill 314.
What is an advance directive?
An advance directive pursuant to NRS 449.905 is a document stating one’s wishes regarding end of life decisions, which includes but not limited to a: living will, health care proxy or similar document[s], including organ donor information.
Why do I need an advance directive?
An advance directive is the best approach in letting your wishes be known and honored by your family, friends and health care providers during an emergency or illness.
Why file a copy of my advance directive with the Living Will Lockbox?
The Lockbox ensures your voice is heard when end of life decisions arise. An electronic copy of your advance directive is stored with the Lockbox and is immediately available to your health care provider.
What types of advance directives can be filed with the Lockbox?
An advance directive may be filed with the Lockbox in the form of a:
• Declaration governing the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment
• Durable power of attorney for health care decisions
• Do-not-resuscitate order
Who should know about my advance directive?
It is wise to share your decisions with your family, friends and health care providers. That way if a medical situation arises, you will appreciate that those you trust will know and honor your medical treatment decisions.
Is the Living Will Lockbox a secure system?
The Living Will Lockbox is an access-protected, secure electronic filing system and accessible only by authorized healthcare providers and to people whom you give your Lockbox registration password. However, if you do not want to file your advance directive/living will with the Lockbox, you can complete an Advance Directive Locator form. The Advance Directive Locator is then electronically stored in lieu of the actual living will/advance directive, and provides the physical location of these documents, without providing the actual content. Please note that using the Advance Directive Locator may, in some cases, delay important health care decisions until such time as the actual documents are located.
“I registered with the Living Will Lockbox for my own good, so any hospital can get my information. I know it is secure. I think it’s very beneficial because in an emergency situation it would help me if they can’t get a hold of my family. They could still know my wishes. I would recommend the program to others for their safety and well-being … It benefits senior citizens the most, and I am grateful for that.”
~ D. Hartman, Reno, NV
“Our financial planner showed us this program. It is important because our children live away from us out of state. If I am in the hospital for an emergency, the hospital will know how to contact my children using my wallet card. If you are hospitalized your doctor will know what your wishes are. The program provides me with peace of mind. I think it’s a great program, and I would definitely recommend it to other people.”
~ L. Huang, Las Vegas, NV
Can I make changes to my advance directive once I have filed it with the Lockbox?
You may make changes to your advance directive but should immediately notify the Lockbox of any changes. An Authorization to Change Form is required to amend or make any changes to your Lockbox file along with a copy of the new/changed documents, if applicable.
Does it cost anything to file my advance directive with Lockbox?
There is no cost to store an electronic copy of your advance directive with the Living Will Lockbox.
Can an agent acting on my behalf file with the Living Will Lockbox?
Yes, an agent (as defined in NRS 132.045) may file documents on your behalf. The agent is required to submit a complete Registration Agreement along with their signature stating that they are authorized to sign on your behalf.
DPS of Northern Nevada prepares Advance Directives (Living Wills) and Durable power of attorney for health care decisions. We also file these documents on behalf of our clients with the Living Will Lockbox. Call (775) 385-0224. Deborah Barnhart is not an attorney authorized to practice in the State of Nevada and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.
Information reused from: http://nvsos.gov/sos/online-services/living-will-lockbox