A Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) is a legal document that designates someone else (called a patient advocate or agent) to make your medical decisions for you.
In Michigan, this document may also be called the following:
- Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare (DPOA-HC)
- Patient Advocate Designation
Law: Michigan uses the code sections under Act 386 of 1998, Part 5, Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of Patient Advocate to address medical powers of attorney.
The following forms related to a Medical Power of Attorney may also be of interest to you:
- Living Will: A living will set out specific instructions on how you want to receive end-of-life care. It will describe things like whether you want to be resuscitated or whether you want to receive pain treatments.
- MI (Financial) Power of Attorney Form: This legal document addresses other aspects of your life that are not related to healthcare, such as real estate, bank accounts, and insurance.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in Michigan
Your Medical Power of Attorney form should follow the basic requirements set out in the Michigan MPOA Code. The steps below will help you complete the form.
Step 1: Choose an agent
Only you can decide who your agent should be. Your agent will make medical decisions for you when you cannot tell them your wishes. Therefore, your agent should be able to act with your best interests and desires in mind, regardless of what their personal opinions may be.
Who should you choose as an agent?
Choosing the right agent is a very personal decision. This person should ideally know you very well and should be able to have a level head when you’re not available to give them direction.
Relevant law: Section 700.5501
Who can’t be your agent?
Michigan does not have any restrictions on who cannot be your patient advocate, as long as whoever you designate is at least 18 years old and competent to make decisions on your behalf.
Can you have more than one agent?
You can designate a successor agent. This person will step in to make your medical decisions for you if the first person you designate is unable, unwilling, or cannot act on your behalf for any reason.
Relevant law: Section 700.5506
Step 2: Specify what healthcare decisions your agent can make
Your Michigan Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form is broad. That means that if you want to limit your patient advocate’s decision-making power, you will need to specifically state what you do not want your agent to do.
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Your agent’s powers can be as limited as you would like. However, you must specifically state which powers your agent does not have.
You can also state precise wishes regarding your general health care as well. Examples include things like:
- How long you would want to be on life-saving machinery
- Whether you want to remain in a vegetative state
- Whether you want enough pain medication to make you comfortable during your end-of-life care
Relevant law: Section 700.5509
What is your agent legally unable to do?
Your patient advocate will not be able to make medical decisions on your behalf that would withhold or withdraw life-saving treatment if you’re pregnant. Apart from this limited restriction, your agent will have broad powers to make decisions on your behalf.
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
Your Durable MPOA form will only take effect once two doctors have determined that you’re not physically or mentally capable of making or communicating your own medical care decisions.
Step 3: Sign the form
You must sign the Medical Power of Attorney form before it is considered valid.
There are some very limited exceptions to this general rule. You can also designate a notary to sign on your behalf. This is helpful if you’re physically unable to sign the document, but you’re still of sound mind to finalize the document.
Do you need witnesses or notary signatures?
You must have at least two witnesses see you or the notary sign the durable power of attorney. Witnesses cannot sign if they don’t think that you’re of sound mind. You also should not be under any duress, fraud, or undue influence.
Relevant law: Section 700.5501
Who can’t be a witness?
Witnesses cannot include:
- The patient advocate that you designated
- Relatives, including spouses and presumptive heirs
- Your physician or an employee of your life or health insurance provider
- Employees of the health care facility or “home for the aged” where you’re living
How long is your Medical Power of Attorney effective in Michigan?
Your Medical Power of Attorney will remain effective until you revoke it or until you pass, or your wishes regarding organ donation (if specified) have been carried out.
Related law: Section 700.5501
How to Revoke a Michigan Medical Power of Attorney
You can revoke your MPOA. It will be automatically revoked by one or more of the following conditions:
- Your death, except as to anatomical gifts
- A court order that demands removal or revocation
- A new patient advocate designation or MPOA
- Your agent is your spouse and you have gotten divorced
You can also revoke your Medical Power of Attorney by communicating the revocation in any way, including both orally and in writing.
Relevant law: Section 700.5510