In Michigan, a medical power of attorney is a legal document completed in advance of an incapacitating medical emergency. It empowers you to choose a trusted friend, family member, or confidant to make medical decisions on your behalf when you can’t make them for yourself. This individual is also called your medical power of attorney (or “conservator” or “patient advocate”).

In this blog, we’ll outline how a Michigan medical power of attorney works, how to choose the best person to be your advocate, and how an attorney can help.

Understand Your Medical Power of Attorney’s Responsibilities in the State of Michigan

Whomever you choose to designate as the conservator of your medical power of attorney will be able to:

  • Designate priority visitors, consent to mental health treatment on your behalf, and act as your general guardian while you receive treatment.
  • Make decisions about the medical care you receive based on how you’ve outlined your healthcare needs and wishes in your medical power of attorney document.
  • Help resolve important tasks in the event of your death — such as your desired funeral arrangements and whether to agree to or deny an autopsy. (Some states require these directives to be outlined in a living will, but living wills are not legally recognized in Michigan.)

Once you’ve created your medical power of attorney in Michigan, your patient advocate cannot modify your document or your wishes. That’s why it’s so important to choose a trusted and loyal conservator and have these conversations while you’re in good health.

How to Choose an Advocate to Act as Your Medical Power of Attorney in Michigan

Choosing a patient advocate to act as your medical power of attorney is an important decision that you should not take lightly. You should trust this person to carry out your wishes to the letter under highly emotional and stressful circumstances. Most people usually choose their spouse, a family member, or a close friend to act as their patient advocate.

Here are a few other factors to keep in mind as you consider who to appoint as your patient advocate in Michigan.

  • You should choose someone honest, loyal, and with a history of making good decisions — especially under pressure.
  • You should feel comfortable discussing end-of-life scenarios and medical treatment with this person — even when it’s painful to think about.
  • You should pick a person who will carry out your healthcare decisions exactly as you detail them in your medical power of attorney document — and advocate for you if there are conflicting opinions about your care.

Your lawyer can help you create a legally binding Michigan power of attorney document that spells out your advanced directives and also help you appoint someone to speak on your behalf. But make sure you have serious and meaningful discussions about these decisions with the person you want to appoint beforehand.

RELATED: Why Should I Get a Lawyer When I Can Make My Will Online?

An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Simplify the Medical Power of Attorney Process

Solidifying your end-of-life plans can be a stressful, complicated process. While online will-makers and digital power of attorney forms might seem simple and straightforward, they often leave out crucial details and fail to account for unique circumstances — leaving your friends and family with further headaches down the road.

As such, we recommend planning your estate (including your medical power of attorney paperwork) with an experienced estate planning lawyer. When you work with a Michigan estate planning attorney, you’ll be able to ask them difficult questions, create unique solutions you can’t get from an online template, and rest assured that your estate plan is legal and accurate.

If you ever need to make changes to your legal documents, your lawyer will be there to help you do so.

Ready to Protect Your Future? The Law Office of Kari Santana Is Here to Help

If you have questions about how a medical power of attorney document works in Michigan or the roles and responsibilities of a patient advocate, please reach out to the Law Office of Kari Santana. Our team has more than a decade’s worth of experience helping people like you protect their final wishes with custom estate plans, wills, trusts, advanced directives, and more.

To schedule an appointment with our team, please call our office at 616-717-5759 or complete this simple online contact form.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.