When you are thinking about working with an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney to draft a will or to establish a trust, you should also be considering advance directives. To be sure, advance directives should be part of any estate planning goals, regardless of your age or health. While most of us do not expect to become incapacitated in the near future and unable to make decisions about our own health care, it is critical to keep in mind that unexpected events can occur. Accordingly, it is important to be prepared. The following are some of the key reasons that you should consider advance directives in estate planning in Michigan.
Advance Directives Allow You to Plan for Medical Care If You Become Incapacitated
Whether or not you are currently in good health, it is important to plan ahead for medical care in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make such decisions on your own. As the University of Michigan explains, an advance directive is a term that simply refers to “a written statement about your wishes regarding medical care.”
There are three different types of advance directives, and you can work with a Michigan estate planning lawyer to ensure that your medical decisions will be honored if you cannot inform your healthcare provider about your wishes. You can have all three advance directives, or you can choose just one or two. The types of advance directives that exist in Michigan include a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care, and a do-not-resuscitate declaration.
A Living Will Allows You to Clarify What Type of Medical Care You Want (or Do Not Want)
A living will, according to the State of Michigan Ombudsman Program, is a “written document in which you inform doctors, family members, and others what type of medical care you wish to receive should you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious.” The living will allows a patient to clarify, in short, what kind of medical care she or he does or does not want. You can indicate, for example, that you want life-saving treatment in certain situations, or that you want to decline life-support options under certain conditions.
You should know that a living will only becomes effective if your doctor says you cannot communicate decisions yourself about your healthcare. This document will never be used if you are conscious and are clarifying that you do not want to abide by the terms of the living will.
Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders Can Also Clarifying When You Do Not Want Certain Medical Care
A do-not-resuscitate order is another type of advance directive. This is a document that can be executed under Michigan’s Public Act 193 of 1996, which says that, “if an individual suffers cessation of both spontaneous respiration and circulation in a setting outside of a hospital,” resuscitation will NOT be initiated.” If you do decide to have a do-not-resuscitate order, you can wear a wrist bracelet that identifies your decision, and you can also provide the information to your patient advocate.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Allows You to Entrust Another Person with Your Health Care Decisions
If a health care issue arises and you cannot voice your own decision, a person designated as your patient advocate through a durable power of attorney for health care can make the decision for you. This document is a written one in which you name another person to be your patient advocate or health care proxy. If you are unable to make a health care decision for yourself due to incapacity—and only if you are incapacitated—the person named in your durable power of attorney for health care can voice your wishes in your stead.
Contact a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
If you have questions about advance directives and estate planning, one of our experienced Michigan estate planning lawyers is here to assist you. Contact Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC today.