It is not uncommon for seniors to name one person in their financial power of attorney (POA) to handle their finances if they become incapacitated and to name someone else in their health care POA to handle their health care decisions.
For instance, a senior might live with one child or be very close to him or her, and trust that child to make medical decisions – because the child is familiar with the senior’s day-to-day health issues. On the other hand, that child might be bad with finances, or another child might simply have a much more helpful financial background or a greater willingness to handle bills, taxes and investments.
That is fine – as long as the two get along and agree on everything. A problem can arise, though, if the two ever disagree. That is because a child making health care decisions might not be able to put them into effect unless the other child agrees to pay for them.
For instance, what if one child believes the senior needs nursing home care, while the other prefers having aides at home? The child named in the health care POA can make all the decisions he or she wants, but those decisions will have little effect if the child named in the financial POA refuses to release the funds.
That is not to say that you should not name different people for the two tasks, but it is wise to give some thought to how to resolve any conflicts. You might, for instance, specify in your financial POA that your agent must comply with decisions made by the person named in your health care POA.
If you need help setting up a Power of Attorney or Living Will, contact Gummer Elder Law for assistance.