Bills improve procedures for powers of attorney, help ensure they’re accepted
State Rep. Doug Wozniak today announced a plan to better protect seniors, vulnerable residents and their families by minimizing the potential to use powers of attorney as a tool for exploitation in Michigan.
Wozniak, an elder law attorney, said the measures also would improve the procedures surrounding powers of attorney, the legal process a person uses to authorize another individual to take actions on their behalf. In recent years, some establishments have become reluctant to accept power of attorney documents due to fear of fraud.
“Any situation where a power of attorney is necessary is going to be tough on a family – but the circumstances get even more difficult when a financial institution or a health care provider refuses to accept the document as valid,” said Wozniak, of Shelby Township. “The goal is to make sure people’s decisions are respected by third parties while creating more protections to ensure powers of attorney situations are not abused or exploited.”
Wozniak said his legislation draws inspiration from the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which was developed by the Uniform Law Commission in 2006 and has since been enacted in some form by at least 26 states.
House Bills 5768-69 would give third-party establishments options to confirm the validity of powers of attorney documents, require them to do so in a timely manner and lay out clear guidelines for whether an agent can gift assets or perform other extraordinary tasks.
The plan been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Wozniak said he’s open to making changes to the plan as it moves through the legislative process. He encourages people interested in providing feedback to contact his office by calling (517) 373-0843 or emailing DouglasWozniak@house.mi.gov.