Common Mistakes when Planning your Medical Directive

  1. Not Reviewing and updating your Medical Directive – Just like all your other Estate Planning Documents, a Medical Directive should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it is still reflective of your wishes. Additionally, you should confirm that your named representative is still willing and able to act on your behalf.
  1. Not having a discussion with your Personal Representative about your specific wishes. People usually know how they want their healthcare handled in the event they become incapacitated. Unfortunately, they often fail to have an in-depth conversation with their personal representative.
  1. Failing to plan for HIPAA – Accessing medical records is imperative to a personal representative. Authorizing someone to make medical decision for you is only half the battle. In order to advocate for you, a personal representative must have access to your medical records. A Medical Directive alone does not grant this authorization. You must sign a separate HIPAA authorization to allow this.
  1. Not knowing which medical documents are legal in your state – in Michigan, Living Wills are not legally recognized. Medical Directives, however, are legally recognized in Michigan. Medical Directives are designed to outline a person’s wishes and preferences in regard to medical treatments and interventions should they become unable to voice their own wishes.
  1. A Do-Not-Resuscitate Declaration is a Separate Document – A Do-Not-Resuscitate Declaration (DNR declaration) is a written document in which you express your wish that should your breathing and heartbeat cease, you do not want anyone to attempt to resuscitate you. This is a separate document than a Medical Directive and is an integral part of your Estate Plan.