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Estate Planning Lawyer: Understanding Patient Advocate Designations in Troy, Michigan

No one wants to think about a serious illness or their own death or dying, but it's a reality. An accident, stroke or heart attack can happen any day. You could be diagnosed with a terminal illness. If you do not have a plan established on end-of-life care or medical treatment preferences for when you are incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself, decisions will have to be made by family members. That can be a source of in-fighting and guilt. You don't want that. 

Once you are an adult, no one else can make medical decisions for you. That, of course, is what we want when we can make our own decisions, but it's a problem if someone has dementia, is non-responsive or otherwise incapable of communicating with doctors and nurses. In that case, if there is not a healthcare directive already in place, medical providers may require that the family file for guardianship in probate court so that someone is appointed with legal authority to make medical and other care decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. It's much easier, much less stressful, and less expensive to make a healthcare directive in advance then it is to file for guardianship.

At the law office of Andrew Byers, our healthcare directive lawyer in Troy, Michigan can go over these sensitive matters with you and help you devise a healthcare directive that mirrors your values and beliefs. Call us at (248) 469-4261 or contact us using the online form to schedule a consultation to learn more. In the meantime, below is a guide to healthcare directives that address common issues and questions that many of our clients have before coming to see us.

What Can Healthcare Directives Do in Troy, Michigan?

A healthcare directive, also known as an advance directive, is a set of medical instructions for what to do when someone is unable to make important medical decisions on their own. Each state has its own requirements related to healthcare directives, though many common components are present throughout each state. In Michigan, the advance directive is frequently called a Patient Advocate Designation.

The underlying function of an advance directive is to make a patient's healthcare wishes known before the medical issues arise. Some examples of healthcare directives include:

  • Living wills
  • Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders
  • Do-not-intubate (DNI) instructions
  • Organ donor registration
  • Designation of a healthcare proxy, or someone else to make medical decisions on the patient's behalf
  • Designation of a medical power of attorney

These matters can be addressed in one legal instrument, the Patient Advocate Designation. In sum, Patient Advocate Designations do a lot for such a small part of an estate plan–they save your family the emotional pain of making healthcare decisions for you when you no longer can, and they secure your medical treatment preferences so that care you do not want is not provided while care you want is provided.

Creating a Patient Advocate Designation in Troy, Michigan

Different states have very different rules regarding how healthcare directives are created and what goes in them. Some states require healthcare directives to be fairly particular and specific while others allow them to be quite vague and wide-reaching––though regardless of where you are, the more specific you are, the less confusion there will be. You can talk to your doctor about what you might want to go into the healthcare directive, and you can speak to an attorney to make sure your Patient Advocate Designation contains the right provisions.

In any event, upon creating a healthcare directive, you want to:

  1. Keep the originals in a safe, accessible place.
  2. Provide a copy to your doctor and patient advocate.
  3. Be sure to log who has a copy of the directive so in case one is lost, you have a backup.
  4. Talk to family members about the decisions you made in the advance directive. It's good to establish boundaries and an understanding of your preferences.
  5. Keep a scan of the directive with you on your smart phone so it is always accessible––this is important for unexpected emergencies.  

Changing Advance Directives in Troy, Michigan

Every few years, you should review your advance directives and make any necessary changes accordingly. This is true for all your estate plan documents. There are two events that particularly prompt a need for an update: 

  1. A new diagnosis, a terminal illness or disease that will alter your way of life; and
  2. Marriage or divorce, i.e., you may want to change who you appoint as your healthcare proxy or agent.

The Benefits of Having a Healthcare Directive as Part of an Estate Plan in Troy, Michigan

Creating a healthcare directive is not something that people like to think about––most people do not want to plan for serious medical problems. However, even young and healthy people stand to benefit from having a healthcare directive in place. 

Like an insurance policy, a healthcare directive helps them in a time of need, foreseeable or not. It also drastically reduces confusion at a moment when quick decisions need to be made. It can also remove the uncertainty and guilt that other people can feel when they have to make important decisions on someone else's behalf.

Contact a Healthcare Directive Lawyer in Troy, Michigan Today

Planning for your future health care is an important part of your estate plan. It is not something to be avoided. Peace comes with being prepared. At the law office of Andrew Byers, our estate planning lawyer will walk you through the steps of a healthcare directive and all other components of an estate plan that suit your needs and wants. Contact us either by using the online form or calling us directly at (248) 469-4261 to schedule a consultation today.

Peace of Mind Made Simple

Andrew Byers is an estate planning, elder law, and probate attorney in Troy, Michigan with 27 years of practical experience you can use to safeguard your savings and protect yourself. I strive to help my clients avoid and solve problems with clear, effective, and affordable legal services and counsel. I advise clients in Troy, Michigan and surrounding communities in Oakland County and the rest of Metro Detroit. Take the first step to obtaining peace of mind by contacting me using the online form or by calling (248) 469-4261.

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