Except in the most extreme situations, all individuals retain the right to make their own choices concerning their medical care. However, you may want to transfer this right to another person through a power of attorney (POA) in the event that you are unable to make decisions on your own.
Before entrusting someone else with this huge responsibility, it is important to discuss the legal implications with a qualified estate planning lawyer. A person who holds these powers has the sole ability to make medical decisions on your behalf. If you are considering this option, discuss your goals and concerns with a Lansing healthcare power of attorney at our firm. Our legal team can explain the process, craft the relevant documents, and ensure that the terms meet your specific needs.
Michigan law does not contain the phrase “healthcare power of attorney.” However, the concept of a patient advocate designation fills the same role. According to Michigan Estates and Protected Individuals Code § 700.5506, any person who is over the age of 18 and of sound mind can designate a patient advocate.
These advocates then have the power to make medical decisions concerning what may be necessary should the patient become incapacitated. An advocate may also decide whether to donate a person’s body to medical research after their death.
When creating a patient advocate designation, a person may also include limitations or directives concerning future care, including specific instructions for what they wish to occur in given situations. Typical examples include:
It is important to work with an experienced lawyer when drafting a patient advocate designation because its terms must be as specific as possible. At our Lansing office, a dedicated attorney could provide more information about how these documents will impact your medical care and legal rights.
Beyond helping you evaluate your wishes for a medical emergency, a seasoned lawyer can also be a confidential advisor when deciding who to nominate as a patient advocate. Granting medical power of attorney requires trust between two people, and nominating a person to serve in this role is a significant decision.
Fortunately, an attorney can help determine whether a nominee might be the right choice. Working with a lawyer on an Advanced Healthcare Directive can also ensure that families avoid court and conflict when a loved one is no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
For a patient advocate designation to have a legal impact, it must meet the state’s rules concerning formation. The documents must be in writing and contain the patient’s signature, as well as the signature of two witnesses who are not related to the patient.
It is important to note that a patient advocate designation only goes into effect once it is in the hands of the patient’s medical providers. To grant these powers to an advocate, the patient’s current doctors and nurses must receive the document. A lawyer well-versed in medical directives can help ensure the proper people receive the document so that it takes full legal effect.
Relinquishing control over your own health is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly. This option is only appropriate in situations where you are incapacitated and unable to make your own choices. However, discussing medical directives with a skilled attorney can help you gain peace of mind that your wishes will be respected in the event of a sudden illness or injury.
At Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC, a Lansing healthcare power of attorney lawyer can help you craft an effective document to meet your specific goals. Call us today to set up a consultation.
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