An advanced health care directive and a financial power of attorney are two cornerstones of a solid estate plan. These allow you to name other people to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to do so. These individuals will likely need to coordinate your medical care, so it’s important to think about who you appoint in these roles as they will need to get along.
A health care proxy, referred to as your advanced directive in California, gives someone the authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t communicate them. A power of attorney document for finances allows this agent to act in your place for financial reasons if you ever become incapacitated.
The power of attorney agent may pay for your health care while the healthcare directive agent makes essential health care decisions if these are not the same people. If these two agents do not agree, it can cause significant problems, especially over which type of care you receive. Any disagreements would have to be settled by a court, which could drain resources in the process and add unnecessary delays.
It may be in your best interests to choose the same person to handle both responsibilities to minimize the possibility of conflict. This may not always work out or make sense given your situation, but it’s a good idea to contact a qualified lawyer to talk this through.
If you have further questions about working with a Pasadena estate planning lawyer, our office is available to help you set up a first meeting and to walk through your estate planning tool options.