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As with planning for authority over finances, planning may also be made for the possibility of health care needs or living arrangements should a person become incapable of giving direction. Again, a clear understanding of what legal arrangements are available and when they are useful allows you to keep control of these choices as much as possible.
While a General Durable Power of Attorney is needed to give your agent authority to make financial decisions, a Health Care Power of Attorney is needed to give another person authority to make health care choices for you. The Health Care Power of Attorney, like the General Durable Power of Attorney, is authorized by Michigan law and, when properly completed, the patient advocate (the appointed person) speaks for you when you are not able to communicate your own wishes.
A patient advocate only has the authority to act for you while you are unable to communicate. If you get better, their authority ends. Further, the patient advocate does not have the authority to end medical treatment if it is likely to cause your death unless you have specifically given the patient advocate the authority to also make life and death decisions for you. This must be spelled out in your Health Care Power of Attorney. It is important to know some of the details of properly filling out a Health Care Power of Attorney:
- You must understand the form you are signing
- Your signature must be witnessed by at least two other adults
* Certain people are not allowed to be a witness to your Health Care of Attorney because of the possible conflict of interest that may have. Your spouse, child, grandchild, brother, sister, parent, possible heir, person benefiting from your will, your doctor, the person you are appointing patient advocate in the document, an employee of your life insurance, health insurance or the medical facility where you are staying, cannot be a valid witness to your Health Care Power of Attorney.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.