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What’s a Durable Power of Attorney for health care?

A Durable Power of Attorney for health care lets you pick an adult you trust to be your patient advocate. Your advocate makes medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. Your doctors and your advocate work together to make sure you receive treatment according to the wishes in your advance directive. 

A Durable Power of Attorney for health care is a legally binding document if two witnesses sign it. 

Tip: Your patient advocate can only make health care decisions for you. If you want to designate someone to handle your financial or legal affairs, you should talk to an attorney.

To establish a Durable Power of Attorney for health care, you need to be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Legally competent

Witnesses have to be unbiased and at least 18 years old. Under Michigan law, your witnesses can’t be:

  • Your spouse
  • Your parent
  • Your child or grandchild
  • Your brother or sister
  • Someone who benefits under your will
  • Your patient advocate
  • Your doctor
  • Someone who works for your life or health insurance companies
  • Someone who works for a health care facility where you receive treatment
  • Someone who works for a home for the aged where you’ve lived

You don't need an attorney to establish your Durable Power of Attorney. All you need to do is fill out the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form (PDF), sign it and have two witnesses sign it. You can change your Durable Power of Attorney at any time. You’ll just need to fill out a new form. 

If you have questions, you may want to talk to an attorney who specializes in probate or elder law.

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