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Michigan Living Wills Laws

It’s difficult to contemplate that we or our loved ones won’t be around forever, and even harder to plan for situations when we won’t be able to make our own health decisions. If something terrible happens and a loved one is unable to communicate his or her desires or preferences regarding medical treatment, how do we figure out the right thing to do? And what if we’re incapacitated? Who will make our decisions and how? States can each have different rules and regulations regarding living wills (also known as “healthcare directives”), so this is a quick summary of living wills law in Michigan.

Living Wills

Living wills are not actually wills in a legal sense, but are legally binding documents expressing an individual's medical treatment preferences. Most often, living wills detail whether a patient wants to be kept alive through artificial means after certain debilitating injuries or illnesses. But they also may indicate exactly which treatment options the patient prefers, should he or she become unable to communicate. Michigan living will laws are not specifically addressed by statute, but are referenced in the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act.

Michigan Living Wills Statutes

Code Section

No statutory provisions (But see Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act §700.496)

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

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Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will

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Revocation of Living Will

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Validity from State-to-State

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If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

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Immunity for Attending Physician

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A durable power of attorney can take care of some of the same things as a living will. This document gives a person authorized to act on behalf of another (or an “attorney in fact”) the legal power to make health care decisions for someone who cannot make those decisions for him- or herself. A durable power of attorney is slightly different from a living will in that it can direct the attorney-in-fact to carry out the living will's instructions or it could allow the attorney-in-fact to use his or her own best judgment. Additionally, a living will can also specify a proxy to help enforce its terms. A durable power of attorney can be used whenever the individual granting the power cannot make his or her own health care decisions, and does not depend on terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness to become effective. Many estate planning attorneys will recommend both documents to cover all situations.

Michigan Living Wills Laws: Related Resources

You can view a sample living will form and a sample living will with designation of a surrogate form in FindLaw’s living wills section. You contact a Michigan estate planning attorney if you would like legal assistance in setting up a living will or durable power of attorney.

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