End of Life

End-of-Life Instructions

In Michigan (as in Florida, as demonstrated in the notorious Schiavo case), a patient must give an explicit advance directive to withdraw life support under various circumstances. Your Patient Advocate speaks when you, the patient, cannot participate in your health care decisions. End-of-life instructions are contained in a customized document called “Living Will Guidelines – Advance Health Care Directive.” John will provide a popular template based on State Bar of Michigan and University of Michigan Health System language. Together, we will edit your own instructions for your care and comfort, and any “end-of-life values statement.”

Some of John’s clients have begun to explore the limits of enforceable post-death authority, e.g., to promote in-home funerals, cremation or “green burial” practices. John supports this effort, along with organ donation, within the changing legal and practical environment.

Legal plan coverage
for simple estate planning documents

Most common legal plans offered as an employment benefit cover simple wills, individual or couple.

Testamentary trusts (a contingent trust within a will) guarding funds for the support of dependent children through young adulthood, are covered. Probate-avoidance living trusts are covered, but are generally not cost-effective nor practical for John’s client population. Non-trust methods of minimizing probate involvement, cost and delay will be discussed. Tax advice and tax-avoidance drafting are not covered, and tax-sensitive matters will be referred out.

Many employment-based legal plans cover financial Powers of Attorney, to delay or avoid the need to obtain a conservatorship to manage an incompetent’s estate. Powers can become effective immediately (e.g. to allow a spouse to manage one’s affairs while one is absent from the country), or upon certification of two doctors that one cannot manage one’s own financial affairs, due to a medical condition.

Many employment-based legal plans cover a health care power, known in Michigan as a Designation of Patient Advocate. They also frequently cover “Living Will” Guidelines - Advance Health Care Directives, including end-of-life and funeral instructions.

John Erdevig encourages everyone with a legal plan to contact its administrators to learn more about what coverage is available and opportunities to persue these legal services.