Lawyers for Power of Attorney & Incapacity Issues
Imagine if you or a loved one were to suddenly become ill or incapacitated. As frightening as this thought is, it’s an important consideration since life is sometimes unpredictable. The good news is, there are special documents which help prepare someone for this scenario. One of these documents is known as a Power of Attorney (POA).
A Power of Attorney is a written authorization which allows someone to legally act on someone’s behalf in the event they cannot communicate. There are two main types of Michigan POA documents:
1. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
2. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
As an experienced law firm for estate planning, we are experienced in handling issues related to Michigan Power of Attorney and other legal matters related to incapacity. Continue reading to learn more or contact our offices today.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is usually referred to simply as a “Healthcare Power of Attorney.” When you cannot make healthcare decisions for yourself a Healthcare Power of Attorney can make medical decisions for you. With this document in place your family or patient advocate has legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you.
Here’s a PDF example of a Michigan Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
Why Is This Important?
With age comes a change to both your mental and physical state. As we age the chances of contracting a serious disease or illness increase. Sudden changes to a person’s health like heart attacks, heart failure or stroke become all too common. It is important to be prepared. In those crucial moments of illness it is important that you understand that your family cannot automatically make healthcare decisions for you. In order for these significant decisions to be made on your behalf you must have a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
Without this document, if you become ill the courts are the last resort for making your healthcare decisions. The court will appoint a guardian to make healthcare decisions for you.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is similar to a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare except that instead of dealing with health issues the advocate manages your money. Most clients will have these documents drafted at the same time.
It is important to note, although they can be created at the same time the two must be separate documents by state law. Basically, a durable power of attorney for health care allows you to name a representative that is in charge of making medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so.
A power of attorney is drawn up in the presence of an attorney and witnesses to formally determine who you wish to leave in charge of your finances and legal affairs when you are no longer fit to do so.
You can see an example of Michigan Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney form here.
Why is This Important?
If you are sick and become unable to manage your money, a well drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Finances will save you from going through probate court if you have to do nursing home care or Medicaid planning. If you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and fall ill, the courts will appoint a conservator to manage your finances.
Other Aspects of POA
Other related documents/aspects that are relevant when discussing power of attorney include: advance directives, release of information, and a living will.
Advance directives – These are drawn up to allow people to make decisions on your behalf.
Release of information – these are forms given to hospital personnel to give them the permission needed to discuss your medical history and take future actions regarding your medical health. This designated representative will receive valuable information regarding your medical records.
Living will – These documents can be put in place to help guide your durable power of attorney for health care in that it specifically lays out the medical treatment you are allowing in your treatment and that of which you do not wish to receive at the end of your life.
While wills and trusts are invaluable, a inclusive estate plan should also incorporate a power of attorney and advance directive. These documents provide necessary protection in the event of an unexpected accident or illness.
How Do I Know When to Invoke A POA?
A power of attorney is an authority given to another person to act on behalf of an individual usually called a principal. The agreement is made into a legal document guiding the relationship between the attorney and the principal. There are four types namely: general power of attorney; durable power of attorney; special or limited power of attorney; and springing durable power of attorney.
There are many situations in which given out this authority may be advisable and necessary, for example, this power might be given out about property management and financial affairs, it may be given when one needs to collect benefits or when one desires to sell a home. In these situations, authority can be given to another person to sign a contract on behalf of a principal. There are some decisions in which this power can be delegated to another such as making health care decision.
Before this authority can be given to another, the principal must make sure that he understands the information contained in the document and that it conforms to that state’s requirements. He must be able to evaluate the information in the document and must be mentally fit to do such. Also, the principal must be able to communicate his intents clearly and effectively. To obtain the power of attorney is easy if some precise steps are taken. One of such steps is checking the state’s requirements to make sure one is on the right track. One needs to fill relevant forms and makes sure that the document is clear enough for all signatories.
The preceding paragraph must deal with the legal capacities of the principal. This is the ability of a person to arrive at decisions that are legally valid. This ability will guarantee his fitness to enter into a binding contractual agreement with other people. It also consists of the ability to choose who he will give the authority to. Legal capacity will enable the principal to make his intents clear to avoid misrepresentation.
This power can be revoked when the principal decides to do so. However, the process of revocation must be made explicit to all parties involved. The most important step in this process is to be sure of state’s requirements so as not to contravene laid down rules and regulations governing such procedure. All institutions involved in this process of revocation must be duly informed for necessary actions. In case of legal capacity issues such as when the principal becomes incapacitated or when he can no longer make decisions for himself because of mental depreciation or disability the family members can approach the court for revocation of the power of attorney. Also, this power can be revoked when one is no longer satisfied with the services being rendered by the attorney. It can also be revoked when there is a case of exploitation and abuse on the part of the attorney. Revocation can also occur when the attorney misuse his power.
Talk to a Michigan Power Of Attorney Lawyer
The Law Firm of Sean J Nichols handles a variety of issues related to aging and disability. These issues include: Michigan Power Of Attorney, probate, wills, trusts, and more. If you or a loved one has legal issues involving these areas, or would like to plan a comfortable future for your family, call this number today. (734) 386-0224