Legal Instruments for Surrogates

Medical or Mental Health Care Decision-Making
An individual who is of "sound mind" may execute a variety of legal documents expressing his/her wishes and/or designating another individual to act on his or her behalf to honor previously stated wishes in certain circumstances or under certain conditions. As guidance, the term "of sound mind" is the same test of capacity used for last wills and testaments created under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) (MCL 700.2501), but is only defined in Michigan case law.

Legal or Financial Decision-Making

Non-Durable Power of Attorney
A legal document by which an individual grants in writing specified powers to a trusted person age 18 or older who acts as the individual's agent (attorney in fact) that is effective at a specified time or circumstance.

"Specific" or "Limited" Power of Attorney

A type of Power of Attorney that is for a single, specific and time-limited purpose.

Durable Power of Attorney (General DPOA)

A type of power of attorney by which an individual designates another person who is 18 years or older as his or her attorney in fact in writing and which is not affected by the principal's subsequent disability or incapacity and notwithstanding the lapse of time since the execution of the instrument (Estates and Protected Individuals Code, MCL 700.5501).

Representative Payee
A person designated by the Social Security Administration to receive and manage federal benefit funds on behalf of an individual to meet his or her basic needs. The Social Security Act requires that a representative payee assist the beneficiary in gaining skills to regain independence and decision-making authority over his or her benefits.