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When will a health care directive not be upheld in Michigan?

Michigan residents often go to great lengths to ensure that their estate plans are perfect. This often includes working with professionals to make sure that every last detail has been thought about. An estate plan can include everything from where people want certain assets to go when they die, to how medical decisions should be made if they become incapacitated.

With these plans in place, medical professionals have a duty to uphold the specific wishes of the incapacitated person. This can include following a health care directive or respecting the medical decisions that are made by the person with health care power of attorney. People can often take comfort knowing that their wishes and decisions will be taken into account.

However, there are situations, when health care professionals may not uphold the decisions made in a health care directive or by someone with medical power of attorney. Generally, there are three situations where this could happen. One, the person's wishes would result in ineffective health care that falls below the standards of a particular medical institution or provider. Two, the person's directive has instructions that are against a hospital's policies. Three, if the treating doctor cannot, in good conscience, follow the decisions of the directive.

In these situations, the person and the person's representative have the right to be informed that a directive cannot be upheld. People then have the option of moving to a facility where the health care directive can be more closely followed.

Making end of life medical decisions can be difficult. People need to know that these decisions are going to be made by someone they trust. A health care power of attorney can do this. By considering speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney, people can get a better understanding of how a health care power of attorney works and its limitations.

Source: Findlaw, "Health Care Directives: Is there a Duty to Follow Them?," accessed July 5, 2015

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