Patient Advocate Designation or Medical Power of Attorney

In Michigan, a designation of patient advocate is the term used for a durable power of attorney for health care, also known as a health are proxy – a document in which you give another person the power to make medical treatment and related personal care and custody decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated.

You may appoint anyone who is 18 years or older to be your patient advocate. However, it’s important to choose someone you trust can handle the responsibility and who is willing to serve.

Prior to acting on your behalf the patient advocate must accept the responsibility by signing an acceptance. While this does not have to be done at the time you sign the document, you should speak with the potential patient advocate to make sure he or she is willing to serve should it become necessary.

It’s important to note that you will be the one giving your patient advocate instructions on how you would like decisions made. For example, you can give your patient advocate power to consent or to refuse medical treatment for you, to arrange for home health care, arrange care in a nursing home or move you to a home for the aged.

In addition, if you express, in a clear and convincing manner, the patient advocate can make decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, including food and water administered through tubes.

Michigan law requires a patient advocate designation to be executed in the presence of and signed by two witnesses. However, not just anyone can be a witness. The witnesses must not include your spouse, parent, child, grandchild, sibling, presumptive heir, known devisee, physician or patient advocate.

If, at any time, you wish to revoke the patient advocate designation you may does so in any manner sufficient to communicate an intent to revoke.

Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document permitting someone to manage your financial affairs. A durable power of attorney allows your agent to make financial decisions when you are no longer competent.

Therefore, if you were incapacitated for any reason your agent could sign your checks, make deposits for you, pay your bills, contract for medical or other professional services, sell your property, or get insurance for you. Basically, your agent is able to do all the things you do to manage your everyday affairs.

A durable power of attorney must be signed in front of a notary or two witnesses. The elected agent must also sign an acknowledgement of responsibilities and duties before he or she is allowed to exercise any authority.