A power of attorney for health care allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions for you. This person is known as an agent, and Nebraska law places certain limitations on who can take on this role as well as the manner in which the POA must be executed. The authority you delegate to your agent can be broad or limited, and it may be modified or revoked if you change your mind in the future.
Choosing an Agent
In Nebraska, the individual that you select to be your agent under a power of attorney for heath care must meet certain requirements. By law, the agent must be at least 19 years old and competent. Competency is presumed in Nebraska unless the person has been judged to be incompetent. The agent cannot be your attending physician, nor can he be employed by your health care provider. Further, an agent is disqualified if he is currently acting as an agent under 10 or more POAs. Once appointed, the agent's powers under a POA can be broad, including the authority to make all decisions that you can legally make, or they can be limited to any extent that you desire.
In Nebraska, the authority you provide to your agent can include the power to make all legal medical decisions. This includes deciding which health care provider to use, whether to accept or deny any treatment, and approving organ donations. You may decide not to not delegate some of this decision-making authority by simply noting it in the POA. Certain medical procedures, such as physician-assisted suicide, are illegal in Nebraska, and therefore decision-making power for these procedures cannot be granted by a POA.
In order to be considered valid, a POA must be in writing and identify both you and the agent you wish to appoint. Nebraska allows you to indicate a successor agent that will take the primary agent's place in the event that he is unable or unwilling to serve. The document must then be signed by you in the presence of a notary or at least two adult witnesses. If a notary is used, she may not be designated as either the agent or successor agent. If witnesses are used, they must not be your spouse or children or an employee of the medical facility where you are receiving care; they must also not stand to inherit under the terms of your will.
Revoking a POA
Unless revoked, a properly executed POA will remain in effect until your death. In Nebraska, you may revoke a POA in any manner that demonstrates an intent to revoke. The act does not need to be in writing, and may be communicated to either your agent or attending physician, who will then relay that information to the other party. Revocations, in whole or in part, are not effective in Nebraska if you have been declared incompetent. This determination must be made by your attending physician.