When assigning people to be your power of attorney agent or health care proxy, you are bound to choose the people who you deem to be the most fit for the role. A health care proxy is someone who you assign in advance to carry out your medical decisions when you are deemed unable to. A power of attorney agent is someone who is also assigned to make financial decisions for you in the situation that you’re unable to. In some cases, they can be the same person for both positions but in other cases, they can be different people. Although a power of attorney agent has different responsibilities from those of a health care proxy, it is not uncommon for the two to occasionally have some overlapping decisions. When this happens, the possibility that there will be conflicts between the two is not surprising. So what are some ways to prevent these conflicts?
1.) Choosing One Person For Both Roles.
- This is the simplest and most popular choice when deciding on who will be responsible for both roles. It allows for just one person to make your decisions for you (both medical and financial) in your best interest without having to go through the trouble of talking- and possibly arguing with another person.
2.) Pick Two People Who Can Get Along With Each Other.
- Sometimes, it’s not reasonable to choose just one person for both roles. Not everybody is good at everything. For example, you may have an ideal person in mind for being your health care proxy but that same individual may not be a good choice to represent your finances. In this case, you would have to get another person to be your power of attorney agent. Although “getting along” may seem self-explanatory, people tend to choose others who are simply suited for the role while overlooking clashing personalities. This can lead to arguments down the line so it is best to ensure that the two representatives can get along and sort out issues in a calm manner.
3.) Assign a Third Person With The Power To Settle Disputes.
- If necessary, adding a third person to be a mediator of the two can decrease the number of conflicts that may arise. Additionally, this person’s name should also be included in the documents indicating what their role is. It is best to discuss with all parties involved about your wishes and what you would want to happen in the case you become incapacitated.
It is never ideal to have people bicker over what you might have wanted. Hopefully, with these tips, disagreements will not occur between your health care proxy and power of attorney agent. If you or a loved on is having trouble figuring out estate planning, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395.