Table of Contents
- Download a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney Sample
- What is a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney?
- Who Should have a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney?
- How to Select Your Patient Advocate(s)
- Which Decisions Can Your Patient Advocate(s) Make on Your Behalf?
- What to do if You Change Your Mind
- How to Complete Your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney
1. Download a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney Sample
2. The Basics: What is a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney?
A Michigan Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that empowers you to spell out your healthcare wishes in the event you lose the ability to communicate. This document allows you to designate a trusted individual to make medical and end-of-life decisions on your behalf.
- Devisee: A person designated in your will to receive real or personal property.
- Incapacitated individual: A person who is impaired to the extent that he or she lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions.
- Patient advocate: An individual designated to make decisions regarding your care, custody, medical or mental health, as well as anatomical gift donation. This person may also be referred to as an agent.
- Principle: A person who grants authority to an agent to act in a power of attorney. In this case, the principal refers to you.
In Michigan, a medical power of attorney is often referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care power of attorney.
3. Who Should Have a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney?
If you’re 18 years of age or older and currently live in Michigan, you’re an ideal candidate for a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney.
In reality, many people don’t consider drafting this document until they experience a significant health concern or life event, such as:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Engaging in a high-risk activity
- Death of a loved one
- Acting as a caregiver for an incapacitated individual
However, the best time for you to execute a medical power of attorney form is now.
Life is uncertain, and we all run the risk of suffering an unexpected illness or injury at any time. Having a completed medical power of attorney form will ensure your wishes are followed and someone you trust is advocating for your care.
4. How to Select Your Patient Advocate(s)
Also known as an agent, your patient advocate is the person you appoint to make healthcare decisions on your behalf on your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney.
The person you choose, whether they be your child, spouse, sibling, friend, or parent, should be aware of your personal values, beliefs, and morals. If unaware of your wishes, they must make decisions based on your best interests.
Thinking long and hard is essential as you select your patient advocate. Keep the following considerations in mind as you make this difficult decision:
- According to MCL 700.5506, your patient advocate must be 18+ years of age.
- Although your patient advocate is not required to share your beliefs regarding end-of-life care, having similar convictions may make it easier for them to act according to the wishes stated in your medical power of attorney. Get a sense of your preferred patient advocate’s beliefs — and whether they’re willing to concede them, if necessary — before you proceed.
- Your patient advocate should be capable of handling the emotional weight of making difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf.
It’s important to note that your patient advocate may revoke the acceptance of their designation at any time. This can be done in any manner that sufficiently communicates their intent to revoke (MCL 700.5507).
Can You Have More Than One Patient Advocate?
MCL 700.5507 allows you to designate one individual to act as a successor patient advocate. This individual may exercise patient advocate powers, in the event your primary choice does not accept, is incapacitated, resigns, or is removed from their role.
5. Which Decisions Can Your Patient Advocate(s) Make on Your Behalf?
Your patient advocate will hold considerable authority over your future care, custody, as well as medical and mental health treatment. For example, your patient advocate is authorized to:
- Approve or deny the majority of medical procedures or interventions
- Approve or deny the use of specific medications or equipment
- Access or release medical records related to your care
- Make decisions regarding mental health treatment
- Approve the donation of anatomical gifts upon your death
- Place you under hospice care
Note that your patient advocate may only withhold or withdraw treatment that would allow you to die if you’ve clearly authorized them make such a decision. In addition, you must acknowledge that such a decision could or would allow you to die.
What Healthcare Decisions is Your Patient Advocate(s) Unable to Make on Your Behalf?
If you’re pregnant, your patient advocate is unable to withhold or withdraw treatment that would result in your death, as stated in MCL 700.5512.
When Is Your Patient Advocate Able to Begin Making Decisions on Your Behalf?
According to MCL 700.5508, your patient advocate’s authority goes into effect only after your attending physician determines that you’re no longer capable of making medical decisions on your own. Your attending physician must confirm their diagnosis with another physician or a licensed psychologist.
This determination must be made in writing, filed with your medical records, and reviewed annually.
6. What to Do If You Change Your Mind
Regardless of how confident you feel in your arrangements today; circumstances may change in the future.
Luckily, you are not locked into your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney forever.
Should you ever change your mind about your patient advocate or their decision-making power, you’re permitted to revoke this document at any time.
As stated in MCL 700.5510, your patient advocate designation may be revoked by:
- Physically destroying the original document
- Creating a new medical power of attorney that invalidates the original document
- Orally expressing your intent to revoke before a witness who can describe your intentions in a written statement
- Expressing your intent to revoke in writing
- Divorce, annulment, or separation, if your spouse is acting as your patient advocate
If not explicitly revoked, your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney remains in effect until your death. Even then, the portion of the document outlining anatomical gifts will remain in effect.
7. How to Complete Your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney
Once you’ve designated your patient advocate and described any restrictions on his or her authority, you can sign and complete the document.
Your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney is not valid until it has been signed by two witnesses. The state of Michigan imposes several restrictions on witnesses, as outlined in MCL 700.5506-4. Your witnesses cannot be:
- Presumptive heirs
- Known Devisees
- Patient Advocates
- Employees of your life or health insurance provider
- Employees of a health facility you’re receiving care at
- Employees of a home for the aged as defined by Section 20106
In addition, if you’re receiving mental health services, your witnesses cannot sign the document unless you appear to be of sound mind and under no duress or undue/fraudulent influence.
Once signed, your medical power of attorney must be filed with your medical records by your healthcare provider.
A medical power of attorney will play a critical role in protecting you and your loved ones from uncertainty. Don’t take any chances, create your Michigan Medical Power of Attorney today.