Sunday, September 20, 2009
Advanced Directives are written instructions you make about your health care and treatment, usually in the event that you are incapacitated such that you cannot meaningfully participate in those decisions yourself. Advanced Directives come in different forms.
"Living Will Declarations" are a form of Advanced Directive which is self-executing. In other words, the writing, itself, directs the caregivers and presumably, they look only to that writing.
"Health Care Durable Powers of Attorney" are an agency document which appoints and authorizes another person to make decisions on your behalf--again, usually in the event of incapacity.
In Michigan, the latter Durable Power of Attorney is recognized by our legislature. Denominated "Health Care Designation of Patient Advocate," this Michigan statutory document requires specific language. Additionally, Michigan requires a determination by 2 licensed medical professionals that you are unable to participate in your own decision making -- and a written "Acceptance of Designation" by your designated representative.
At this time Michigan does not recognize a Living Will Declaration either statutorily or by court ruling (though this does not mean that a court would not use it as evidence of your intent).