Both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney allow other people to make decisions for you in the event you cannot do so yourself. Because the individuals chosen will have to coordinate your care, it is important to pick two people who will get along.
A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) allows a person you appoint to act in your place for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated. Likewise, a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) gives an agent the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate such decisions.
While the person holding the MPOA is the one who makes the health care decisions, the person who holds the DPOA is the one who needs to pay for the health care. If the two agents disagree, it can spell trouble. For example, suppose your health care agent decides that you need 24-hour care at home, but your power of attorney thinks a nursing home is the best option and refuses to pay for the at-home care. Any disagreements would have to be settled by a court, which will take time and drain your resources in the process.
The easiest way to avoid conflicts is to choose the same person to do both jobs. But this may not always be feasible — for example, perhaps the person you would choose to handle health care is not good with finances. If you pick different people for both roles, then you should think about picking two people who can get along and work together. You should also talk to both agents about your wishes for medical care so that they both understand what you want.
If you have questions about whom to name for these roles, or you haven’t yet executed these critical documents, contact Balmos Law.