Medical Power Of Attorney In Michigan

Planning for end of life medical care is never easy. Unfortunately, if you are incapacitated or unable to communicate, the burden of making your medical and end-of-life decisions may be unexpectedly placed on the shoulders of family members who are not prepared for the task. Even worse, your medical decisions could be placed in the hands of the courts. Imagine if there was no one appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf, or if your loved ones had no instructions on your wishes and they were left to guess.

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Think about the difficulty and stress this could cause. In certain circumstances, these decisions may be made by people who you never intended or by the courts.  The good news is, these situations are easily avoidable with a Medical Power of Attorney in Michigan…

What Is A Medical Power Of Attorney In Michigan?

In Michigan, a Medical Power of Attorney (sometimes called a Health Care Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions, or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) is a legal document that authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. 

The person you appoint to make your medical decisions is often known as your Patient Advocate. Your Patient Advocate is given the authority to make medical decisions for you in the event that it is determined that you are incapable of making decisions or are unable to communicate, usually due to being incapacitated. 

What Happens Without A Healthcare Power of Attorney?

When deciding who should act as your Patient Advocate, it’s important to choose someone who you trust and who is capable of making your critical medical decisions if you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself. 

There may be certain people in your life that you would trust with these decisions and others who you believe might be too emotional to take on that responsibility (given the stressful circumstances). Sometimes, there are people in your life who may appear to the court to be a natural choice to make your medical decisions (sibling, child etc.) but who have actually been estranged for long periods of time, or who were simply not close enough to you to know your intentions. 

If something happens to you and a Medical Power of Attorney is not prepared ahead of time, a person who you may not want to make your medical decisions may be appointed anyway – a situation that might be less than ideal. In some cases, it is necessary to go to the court to have a Guardian and/or Conservator appointed if there is no one previously appointed as Patient Advocate (and Attorney-in-Fact under a Durable Power of Attorney). The court may also be called upon to make medical decisions if there is a disagreement about your medical wishes because they weren’t previously recorded.

What Are The Benefits Of A Medical Power Of Attorney?

By preparing a Medical Power of Attorney you legally empower someone to make the proper medical and end-of-life decisions on your behalf should the need arise. Planning ahead of time ensures that someone you believe is capable is appointed to make decisions instead of someone who may be unprepared or ill-suited for the role. 

It’s often a good idea to prepare a Living Will in addition to your Medical Power of Attorney. While your Medical Power of Attorney appoints someone to legally act on your behalf, your Living Will outlines your actual wishes for them to follow with respect to your medical care. This helps your Patient Advocate make medical decisions and eliminates any confusion about certain treatments that you would or would not have wanted. 

What Are The Limitations Of A Medical Power Of Attorney?

Unlike a Living Will, the Medical Power of Attorney generally does not dictate your wishes for your medical care, it only gives the legal authority to your Personal Representative to make medical decisions on your behalf.  This is why it is highly recommended that when planning for end of life care, you prepare both a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will. At the very least, you should have an open and honest discussion with your Patient Advocate about the types of treatments that you would like performed (and those you would not). A Medical Power of Attorney also doesn’t appoint anyone to manage your finances if you are incapacitated. This can be a problem if you are incapacitated or comatose for a long period of time. You may need someone to pay your medical bills, house payments, and taxes. This is why we usually combine a Medical Power of Attorney with a Financial Power of Attorney (also known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances or a Property Power of Attorney).

How Do I Make A Medical Power Of Attorney In Michigan?

A Medical Power of Attorney helps you plan for complicated end of life decisions. For this reason, it is usually best to consult with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to ensure that this document is written accurately based on your wishes and is legally binding. 

If you would like to have a Medical Power of Attorney drafted, we can help you.
Over the past decade, we’ve helped 1,000s of families in all matters of Powers of Attorney, Wills, Living Trusts, Estate Planning, and Probate. 

Just give us a call at (248) 613-0007 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about drafting a Medical Power of Attorney. To schedule your complimentary initial consultation with an experienced Attorney, just give us a call at (248) 613-0007 today!

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Written By Chris Atallah - Founder, Rochester Law Center, PLLC
Written By Chris Atallah - Founder, Rochester Law Center, PLLC

Chris Atallah is a licensed Michigan Attorney and the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Wills & Trusts – Estate Planning for Michigan Families”. Over that past decade, Chris has helped 1,000s of Michigan families and businesses secure their futures in all matters of Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning. He has taught dozens of seminars across the State of Michigan on such topics as avoiding the death tax, protecting minor children after the parents’ death, and preserving family wealth from the courts and accidental disinheritance. If you have any questions, Chris would be happy to answer them for you – just call at 248-613-0007.

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