When people start the estate planning process, they quickly learn that there is more to it than simply dictating who gets what after you die. Instead, there is a complex system of documents related to powers of attorney that are part of a comprehensive estate plan.
In Michigan, the durable power of attorney designation is one that is widely used. According to FindLaw, the durable powers of attorney is a designation that allows someone to name someone who will make health care decisions for them when they are unable to do so on their own.
There are several requirements for a durable power of attorney in Michigan. According to the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act, the document must be signed by two witness, be made of the person's own free will, be signed by the designee, be entered into the patient's medical record and be initiated by a person who is at least 18 years old. The durable power of attorney only goes into effect if the person can't make their own decisions, and it can't be used for pregnant women.
An important consideration in Michigan that might affect some people is that a patient advocate can only refuse life-saving or life-sustaining medical treatments if the patient's desires not to have those treatments done are clearly conveyed in writing. This means that a living will should be written and entered into the patient's medical record.
Another type of power of attorney has to do with financial institutions. These designate a person to care for your financial accounts if you are incapacitated. These must be presented in writing to the financial institution in order to be accepted as valid.
A final type of power of attorney here is the special power of attorney. This designation allows someone to act on your behalf only if certain conditions are met. Not only are the conditions listed for this power of attorney, but the specific duties are also laid out.
Getting powers of attorney designations all sorted out can be a complex process. Determining how to set up these forms to clearly make your wishes known might involve learning about various conditions and types of powers of attorney designations.
Source: NJ.com, "Your Money: The truth about 'power of attorney' documents" Karin Price Mueller, Jul. 01, 2014