Category Archives: Guardianship

Michigan Governor’s Executive Orders Highlight the Importance of Having a Power of Attorney

linda friedlandMedia coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic is replete with horror stories about assisted living residents being on “lock-down” and unable to visit with loved ones. People have been avoiding the hospital because they have been told that they will “die alone.” This is primarily because hospitals and congregate care facilities have misunderstood Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders. Executive Order 2020-72 and Executive Order 2020-108 have been replaced by Executive Order 2020-136, which basically operates as an extension of those two replaced Executive Orders. Although very little has changed, directors of facilities have nevertheless begun citing “the new Executive Order” as a reason for denying visitor access. This interpretation is incorrect. The first directive of the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-136 states as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided by the order by the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), all healthcare facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities must prohibit from entering their facilities any visitors that: are not necessary for the provision of medical care, the support of activities of daily living, or the exercise of power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for an individual under the facility’s care; are not a parent, foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, or guardian of an individual who is 21 years of age or under and who is under the facility’s care; are not visiting an individual under the facility’s care that is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care; and are not visiting under exigent circumstances for the purpose of performing official government functions.”

In other words, while these facilities may still be on “lock-down,” Governor Whitmer has provided an exception for holders of a power of attorney. Once inside, however, holders of a power of attorney must still be subjected to a health evaluation, which, according to the Executive Order, must include at minimum an inquiry into whether an individual is experiencing symptoms of respiratory infection, fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and any other criteria specified by the Director of DHHS. Those seeking entry must also wear a face mask, covering both the nose and mouth, when indoors or within six feet of another person. Some have found, however, that they are more likely to be left alone by staff if they put their mask on and keep it on.

The Governor’s Executive Order defines “residential care facilities” as including without limitation: homes for the aged, nursing homes, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities, and assisted living facilities. Individuals who are considering moving into one of these facilities should be aware that having a properly drafted power of attorney could mean the difference between maintaining contact with the outside world or becoming completely isolated.

Linda Davis Friedland is an attorney in our Livonia office where she concentrates her practice on elder law, guardianships, conservatorships, wills, trusts, estate planning, probate administration, trust administration, and litigation in probate court. She also handles matters involving business law, business succession planning, commercial litigation (UCC), contract disputes, shareholder disputes, employment and labor law. As part of her business law practice, she defends creditors against lawsuits filed by aggressive bankruptcy trustees.

Ms. Friedland is a member of the Probate & Estates and Elder Law sections of the State Bar of Michigan, and she provides continuing education training to attorneys, accountants, and financial planners in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, and tax law. She may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or lfriedland@cmda-law.com.

The Elderly are at Risk – Even in the Courts

Gene Richards_8x10@300It’s a travesty when the court process designed to protect seniors is manipulated by unscrupulous professionals for personal profit. Without immediate, aggressive advocacy a person can be stripped of all legal rights in less than 30 minutes at a court hearing. Admittedly, it is appropriate for a judge to appoint a conservator or guardian if an individual cannot make decisions or needs to be protected, but it should only happen when absolutely necessary. Please click on the link below to read an article regarding an extreme case of systemic abuse of the probate process.

The Elderly are at Risk – Even in the Courts

Be an effective advocate for your spouse or parent by:

  • Evaluating other options before petitioning to appoint a guardian or conservator
  • Hiring a lawyer immediately
  • Speaking to the court appointed investigator
  • Attending all hearings
  • Working out differences with family members – before going to court
  • Encouraging your parent(s) to designate in advance who they want as guardian or conservator (In Michigan, this can be done in a durable power of attorney.)

The elder law and probate attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. are available to counsel on the pros and cons of pursuing (or defending against) appointment of a guardian or conservator in the Michigan probate courts.  We also go to court on behalf our clients and advocate aggressively for the right results.  Contact our office for a consultation about your situation at (734) 261-2400 or nrichards@cmda-law.com.

Panel Discussion on Understanding Long Term Care Needs to be held April 20

Gene Richards_8x10@300On Thursday, April 20th Norman E. Richards (Gene), a partner in our Livonia office, will join other elder law experts to present a panel discussion on Understanding Long Term Care Needs.  The seminar will be held at Waltonwood Cherry Hill in Canton and is open to the public.  For more information, please click here.

Norman E. Richards (Gene) focuses his practice on estate planning and elder law.  He assists clients with the development of customized estate plans to address their specific needs, including family owned businesses, senior adults concerned about long term care needs, and special needs trusts for children with special needs.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or nrichards@cmda-law.com.

« Older Entries