Your wishes for medical treatment may not be known or honored without valid documents directing your health care. To avoid having your family members be required to go to court, arguing over what’s best for you, to avoid this type of outcome, preparing two basic legal documents are recommended – a Living Will and a Patient Advocate Designation also known as a Durable Medical Power of Attorney.
Michigan does not have a statute authorizing Living Wills. However, it is advisable to create a Living Will. Federal law allows a person to direct his or her own health care — and a Living Will is an important tool for doing just that. A living will provides your loved ones with direction, if they are called upon to make these decisions on your behalf.
DURABLE MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
A durable medical power of attorney, or, often called a durable power of attorney for health care, is the Michigan sanctioned document that designates a trusted person as your agent to carry out your health care wishes. This person is named the Patient Advocate. The Patient Advocate communicates on your behalf your health care desires when you are unable to communicate your wishes and oversee your medical care and make health care decisions. It is important that you review your wishes with your agent to clarify the treatments you do or do not want.
It is recommended to plan ahead regarding the assistance you may require in managing your health care. To make this easier, some states combine a durable power of attorney for health care and health care declaration into a single form, commonly called an “advance health care directive.”