Plan improves procedures for powers of attorney, helps ensure they’re accepted
State Representative Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp), earlier this week, introduced legislation to replace Michigan’s Durable Power of Attorney statute with legislation based on the Uniform Power of Attorney Act that have been enacted by 30 other states and is being considered by several more.
“As an Elder Law attorney, I have worked in this area of law for many years and, while it is still a useful tool in assisting many of my clients, I have come to appreciate that it needs to be updated and improved for the benefit of our more vulnerable family members and those who assist them with their affairs,” said Wozniak.
According to the non-partisan, non-profit Uniform Law Commission, the concept of a “power of attorney” was first incorporated into the Uniform Probate Code in 1969 to offer an inexpensive method of surrogate decision making to those whose modest assets did not warrant pre-incapacity planning with a trust or post-incapacity asset management with a guardianship.”
After more than fifty years, powers of attorney are now used by people of all economic means for incapacity-planning, as well as convenience.
Over the years, many states had adopted non-uniform provisions to deal with issues on which the Uniform Probate Code and the Durable Power of Attorney Act were silent. The modernized Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides uniformity on these issues and enhances the usefulness of the law.
“To ensure that the provision of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act align properly with Michigan law, a State Bar of Michigan workgroup spent countless hours reviewing existing statute and ensuring that the proposed changes align with existing statutes,” said Wozniak. “My bills are based on the State Bar’s recommendations.”
“Something as critical as school safety resources needs immediate, robust consideration to ensure the package meets all relevant needs,” Wozniak said. “My Democrat colleagues have spoken about the importance of the committee process, yet they have not held a hearing to consider the bills. It’s time for the Education Committee to honor their responsibilities to our children and hold a hearing on the bipartisan school safety plan.”
“Probate Court looks out for people in times of crisis, where time is of the essence,” said Wozniak, R-Shelby Township. “These caseloads don’t usually involve people who can wait weeks or sometimes even days for a hearing. We’re talking about orphaned children with nowhere to go, mentally ill and developmentally disabled loved ones, and folks looking for the authority to make medical decisions for incapacitated family members, and myriad of other circumstances where timely, thoughtful decisions need to be made. Macomb County needs this additional judicial position to help ensure our vulnerable family, friends and neighbors are properly served.”
“These bills would add $72 million dollars in new fees to the bills of public water customers, each year,” said Wozniak, R-Shelby Township. “The state already has too many poorly managed and underperforming programs. Macomb County residents are not clamoring for an expensive new program from which they would receive no benefit.”
“People want assurances government officials are using proceeds from the sale of property seized by the government exactly according to law,” said Wozniak, R-Shelby Township. “Corruption or even the appearance of corruption is a stain on our society. Our plan brings greater clarity to the civil asset forfeiture law by refining the process and limitations for its use.”