Health Care Power of Attorney (Patient Advocate) and Living Will Lawyer Serving Livonia and Surrounding Areas
Estate planning is typically thought of as only covering what happens with your assets once a person passes away. While properly planning for you passing with a will, and potentially a trust, is an important step that all individuals should take, there are also very important steps that need to be taken to plan for incapacity as part of a comprehensive estate plan.
The most common pre-incapacity planning tools include a financial durable power of attorney and healthcare powers of attorney. In Michigan we have several planning techniques to help assist with health care decisions should there ever be a moment of incapacity.
If a person who has lost capacity never appointed anyone to make health decisions on his or her behalf, then the person's medical wishes may not be known to doctors and family members. The best way to deal with incapacity is to plan for it while one is still of sound mind.
Health care POAs are not just for older adults or people with significant illnesses. These documents are important for everyone. Creating a patient advocate and living will gives you control over your future health care decisions. It is the best way you to choose who will make your health care decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself. It is also a way that you can make sure the person making decisions for you knows what you would want and is someone you trust.
Identifying What is Important to You
The first steps in planning your healthcare during incapacity is to think about the issues that may arise. What kind of treatments would I want or not want to be given? Would I want to be put on life-sustaining medical equipment? Who do I trust to make decisions for me and would be a back up for that person? This is the information you will put in your patient advocate and living will form(s).
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What is the Difference Between a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will?
A Living Will and the Health Care Power of Attorney (patient advocate) are both forms of Advance Directives. With a Health Care Power of Attorney, you appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. With a Living Will, you specifically state what type(s) of treatment you want or don’t want if you become unable to express your wishes.
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney (Patient Advocate)?
A patient advocate, aka health care power of attorney, is an agent that you grant authority to make health care decisions for you while you are unable to due to incapacity. The patient advocate acts as a substitute decision maker until you are ready to make health care decisions for yourself.
A patient advocate is a fiduciary and must take every step to follow the written desires, instructions and guidance from you. Further, the patient advocate is only empowered if an attending physician or licensed psychologist, for mental health decisions, has determined after an examination that you are unable to participate in the decision due to a lack of capacity.
Further, you as the patient can provide different levels of authority to your patient advocate, meaning that you can grant broad general powers to make decisions on your behalf or very limited medical treatment decisions. Lastly, a patient advocate form is always revocable should you ever change your mind on the patient advocate that you had chosen.
What is a Living Will?
Living Wills are typically drafted in the same document as the patient advocate. A living will intend to be a clear and convincing expression of your wishes in connection with certain health situations. Commonly clients want to plan for end of life decisions, such as went to stop artificial life prolonging procedures, no autopsy or surgeries, and a general statement on end of life wishes.
While it is uncomfortable to think about end of life decisions for most of us having a well drafted patient advocate form and living will can reduce heart-wrenching, time-consuming, and expensive litigation that can occur if a patient does not leave clear and convincing evidence of his or her desires. These documents can also reduce the guilt that your children may feel as they know they are following your directives and making the end of life decisions that you wanted.
How Do I Make A Health Care Power Of Attorney and Living Will In Michigan?
A Medical Power of Attorney helps you plan for complicated end of life decisions. For this reason, it is usually best to consult with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to ensure that this document is written accurately based on your wishes and is legally binding.
If you would like to have a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will drafted, Matt Devitt Law, PLC can help. Give us a call (734) 335-0713 for a free consult.
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39111 Six Mile Rd
Livonia, Wayne County 48152