The Michigan durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a document used for delegating powers from one person to another. The person who delegates their powers to another person is called the principal, while the person who represents the principal is called the agent or the attorney-in-fact.
The term durable means that the power of attorney will remain valid even if the principal loses legal capacity.
The principal can use the durable power of attorney when they are unable to personally complete a certain action or make a certain decision. That can happen due to their unstable physical or mental health, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or simply because they are located far from the place where a certain action needs to be taken.
Durable Power of Attorney Laws & Requirements in Michigan
Laws & Requirements
Signing requirements: The principal should sign the durable power of attorney before at least two witnesses or a notary public. The agent must sign the acknowledgment of the attorney-in-fact responsibilities. (§ 700-5501(2)) (§ 700-5501(4))
Statutory form: The Michigan Laws don’t provide the statutory form for the durable power of attorney.
“Durable” as defined by the state law: According to the Michigan Laws, a durable power of attorney includes the words “This power of attorney is not affected by the principal’s subsequent disability or incapacity, or by the lapse of time,” or “This power of attorney is effective upon the disability or incapacity of the principal.” (§700.5501(1))
How to Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney in Michigan
#1. Designate an Agent
When determining an agent, you should look for a person who is of legal age and has the legal capacity to represent you. Moreover, it should be the person you trust, especially if you are delegating the authority to make decisions about your finances and health care.
In this section, you should also name the successor agent. That is the person who will represent you in case the primary agent becomes legally incapacitated.
#2. Grant Authority
Once you have determined the agent, you should define their scope of authority.
There are three main ways in which you can define the agent’s scope of authority:
Scope of Authority
General authority. With this option, you can authorize your agent to take all the necessary actions and interact with all third parties on your behalf. You can limit the general authority by providing a list of activities the agent is not allowed to take part in.
Partial authority. Here, you can select the activities you want your agent to be able to perform from the list of activities provided in the durable power of attorney form.
Special authority. This option gives you the most flexibility since you can describe the agent’s scope of authority in your own words. In this way, you can provide the authorities that are not provided in the durable power of attorney form.
#3. Ensure the Form is Durable
In Michigan, the power of attorney is not durable by default, so if you want your power of attorney to be effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated, you must include certain language in your document.
#4. Sign the Form
The principal, or another person directed by the principal and in the principal’s conscious presence, must sign the durable power of attorney in front of at least two witnesses or a notary public.
#5. Notarize the Form
If there are no witnesses that will acknowledge the principal’s signature, the notary public must do so. They will sign and stamp the durable power of attorney, acknowledge the principal’s signature, and confirm the overall authenticity of the document.
#6. Store Your Durable Power of Attorney Form
After finalizing the document, you should keep the original copy in your possession and store it in a safe place.
You can also give one copy to the agent so they can prove their capacity to the third parties they are interacting with on your behalf.
How to Revoke a Durable Power of Attorney in Michigan
The best way to revoke the Michigan durable power of attorney is to issue a termination letter. This letter should include the name of the agent and the date of issuance of the power of attorney you want to revoke.
To make the revocation effective, you should give a copy of the letter to the agent and to any relevant third party.