What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare? – Part Two

by Christine Steinmetz, J.D., Hotline Attorney

This post is part two of a series of blog posts examining Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Part one can be found here

????????????????????????????????????????In our last blog, we discussed what a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is and some questions that are frequently asked regarding it. As we discussed previously, a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a legal form that allows a person to appoint an agent, called a “Patient Advocate”, to make healthcare decisions for them when they are unable to participate in medical treatment decisions.

Clients often call because they are considering executing a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, but are concerned about whether they can revoke the document once it is effective. The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can be revoked by the patient at any time and in any manner where the patient is able to communicate an intent to revoke the designation. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can also be revoked by an order of the probate court. The document is revoked upon death, unless the document authorizes the patient advocate to make anatomical gifts.

There are also circumstances where a patient has a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, but does not want to be kept alive through resuscitation. Michigan’s Do-Not-Resuscitate Procedure Act allows an individual who is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind to execute a document called a Do-Not-Resuscitate-Order. This document states that in the event the patient’s heart or breathing should stop, then no person shall attempt to resuscitate the patient. Under the statute, a patient advocate or a guardian may also be able to execute a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order for the patient. A patient who has a Do-Not-Resuscitate-Order can obtain a do-not resuscitate bracelet so that health care professionals are aware of his or her wishes.

Many people are not aware that Michigan has a registry where you can file your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Do-Not-Resuscitate-Order. You can use this registry to keep a copy of your documents. You will still want to retain the original documents for your records. There is no charge for this service. You can submit your documents by mailing them to: Gift of Life Michigan, 3861 Research Park Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. You can also contact them toll free at (800) 482-4881 (24 hours/7 days a week) or by email at mipeaceofmind@giftoflifemichigan.org.

This article just touched on some of the questions frequently asked regarding the Durable Power of Attorney For Healthcare and the Do-Not-Resuscitate-Order.  If you have any additional questions regarding these documents, please call the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors at 1-800-347-5297.


Christine Steinmetz is a Part-time Attorney at Elder Law of Michigan, and has been a member of the Elder Law team since 2011.

Ms. Steinmetz graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Business, Finance, and Management.  She received her Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.  While in law school, Christine developed an interest in the field of elder law as an intern at Thomas M. Cooley’s Sixty Plus Elder Law Clinic.

After graduating from law school, Christine worked for a Lansing law firm and later opened her own practice, The Law office of Christine M. Steinmetz, PLC, in Okemos, Michigan.  As a general practice lawyer, Christine has represented clients in a variety of legal subject areas, including estate planning, Social Security, housing law, family law, and criminal matters.  As an attorney at Elder Law, Christine advises clients on issues including Medicare/Medicaid, wills and trusts, estate planning, landlord/tenant, and consumer law.

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