Last week, we discussed some of the estate planning documents that our Michigan readers might find useful when preparing for end-of-life care. It is important for these documents to consider a variety of situations that you might find yourself in when your time in this world is nearing an end. One of those situations is where and how you want your end-of-life care.
Many of our readers have heard about living wills, advance directives and other end-of-life documents. What some of our readers might not realize is that Michigan has some very interesting laws pertaining to these end-of-life documents. Our Michigan readers might like to know this information so that they can ensure their estate plan is legal in regard to their medical care.
Residents of Michigan with aging parents may be interested in information about care-giving and powers of attorney. There are five different types of POAs: a power of attorney for health care, a limited power of attorney, a financial power of attorney, a durable power of attorney and a springing power of attorney.
Michigan individuals may wish to consider creating a living will as part of their estate planning. A living will is an important component of an estate plan because it lets an individual's loved ones know what their wishes are should that individual become incapacitated.
Establishing a trust for someone with a disability requires finding someone to whom to grant power of attorney. A power of attorney gives the assigned entity the right to make decisions on another person's behalf.
Michigan law allows a person to designate another to act on his or her behalf by means of a power of attorney. Delegation can be made for specific tasks or for more general purposes. The person making the grant is known as the principal and the person to whom the power is granted is known as the attorney-in-fact. A durable power of attorney is one that may take effect or continue to be effective after the principal becomes incapacitated or disabled.
At one time, power of attorney was less commonplace, but it has risen in popularity. Many people automatically think of a power of attorney as being the primary solution to protecting an incapacitated person. However, it does not have unlimited power under Michigan law, and if the person drafting the document fails to include detailed instructions, making such arrangements can have negative consequences for that individual and his or her family.
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.
Michigan residents need to be sure they know what they are signing when they sign contracts for a parent or loved one. Many people who become powers of attorney for a loved one who has become cognitively impaired misunderstand what it means when they sign their own name on a contract. For instance, children of an elderly parent often find themselves in a position where they need to move their parents into a nursing home. If they have a power of attorney for their parent, they are within their rights to sign the contract on their parent’s behalf. However, they may be unknowingly signing as a guarantor for the payments, instead of just signing that they will make the payments for their parent from their parent’s money.
Health Care Decisions Month, which occurs in April, is approaching quickly. With that reminder about the importance of making decisions about health care so close, now is the perfect time to review your current health care documents or draw some up if you don't have any.