Many people manage their own affairs whether that is paying the electricity bill, mowing the lawn, funding a retirement account, making sure that insurances are up to date, among other things. One area that many people neglect in Michigan is creating instructions on what to do if they can’t make healthcare related decisions for themselves anymore. These instructions in Michigan are called healthcare powers of attorney or a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Often times these legal documents name a patient advocate, who is the person who makes sure your wishes are followed.
What happens if you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare or a Patient Advocate Designation in Michigan?
If you don’t have the proper estate planning paperwork in order in Michigan, then the court will have to get involved. An example is that you don’t have a durable power of attorney for healthcare in Michigan and you are in a situation where you can’t make decisions for yourself. This is when the probate court would have to start guardian and conservator proceedings. This process is where the court would decide who would be making the healthcare related decisions on your behalf. If this happens, then you won’t be able to pick the person making the decision. What is even scarier is that if the person the court decides to make the decisions has different or opposing ideas to yours, then those differing or opposing ideas might be what happens.
If there is a disagreement about who should be making healthcare decisions, then this process could become very expensive very quickly. Each side may hire attorneys. The court may order the guardian, conservator, or agent to obtain a surety bond. Ultimately, you don’t want the government making these decisions for you.
If you don’t have a durable power of attorney for healthcare or a patient advocate designation in Michigan, now is as good of a time as any. This will allow you to pick the person you want to make those decisions for you. You can also specify exactly what you want and don’t want done when you can’t make decisions anymore. If you do nothing, you are giving the probate court a lot of power that you may not agree with.
Call me for a free consultation so I can help you understand your options when it comes to estate planning in Ann Arbor, Saline, Ypsilanti, Milan, Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester, Howell, Fowlerville, Brighton, Plymouth, Northville, or the surrounding Washtenaw, Wayne, Livingston, Lenawee counties.