Michigan Power of Attorney for Finances

The term power of attorney can be used to describe various legal documents which grant another person authority to act on your behalf. Depending on how a power of attorney is constructed it might be effective immediately or at some point in the future.  When a power of attorney only becomes active when a certain event occurs it is considered a “springing” power of attorney as it only springs to life under specific conditions. 

In Michigan, you can create a power of attorney for finances which allows another person to manage your financial affairs and can take effect immediately after it is signed by you(the principal). This allows the agent, or person with your power of attorney, to manage your financial affairs as long you are competent.  If you want the device to remain in place if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, it will need to include a statement which makes it “durable.” However, this same device can be made a springing power of attorney by including language which only permits it to come to life under specific conditions. In most cases, the circumstance which precipitates the activation of this power of attorney will be your (the principal’s) incapacitation.  You can revoke your power of attorney for finance once it has been activated when you regain your competency by signing a document which says the power is revoked.  

Michigan Patient Advocate Designation

In Michigan, a Patient Advocate Designation (often referred to as Durable Power of Attorney for HealthCare) allows you to name another person to carry out your medical wishes for you in the event of your incapacitation.   This designated individual will be able to direct your medical care and may even be in the position to make life-sustaining and end-of-life decisions for you.  A PADis another type of springing device as it usually only becomes active when the principal loses their capacity to make decisions.  This PAD designation can also be changed after it begins when you regain your competency and remove the designee in writing.  The PAD is similar but not the same thing as a living will or advance directive which allows you to tell your medical professionals the care you would want to receive if you are incapacitated.  While this type of document gives instructions regarding your preferences concerning medical treatment, it does not allow you to designate someone to make medical decisions for you — in Michigan, only the PAD can do this.  

The power of attorney for finances and patient advocate designation are critical devices to have in place for your protection.  However, they must be prepared correctly in order to protect your interest and well-being.  Additionally, you need to ensure that the right people are named to serve in these decision-making roles.  We have experience helping clients create these and other estate planning documents and can provide you with the guidance you need.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.