Elder Law Attorney Christopher Berry Suggests Making Sure Estate Agents Work Well Together

Law Firm Newswire



Bloomfield Hills, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 19, 2013 – As part of estate planning, two of the most important documents an individual can have are a healthy care proxy and a durable power of attorney.

Both documents allow others to make important decisions should one become incapacitated. But an issue may arise when the two people who are overseeing the estate, the health care proxy and the durable power of attorney, do not work well together, or do not see eye-to-eye. It is imperative, then, that the people chosen for these important roles are individuals who can get past any differences and work toward common goals.

“When choosing who will oversee your estate and your health care, should you become incapacitated, speak with both individuals so your wishes are known to both,” says elder law attorney Christopher J. Berry. “And be certain that they can work together to make decisions.”

A power of attorney appoints someone who can act in the place of an incapacitated individual to determine financial issues. A health care proxy appoints someone to determine health care decisions for an incapacitated individual. Though the health care proxy makes determinations about health care choices, the person who has the power of attorney pays for that health care. When those two people disagree on a course of action, it can cause issues in continuity of care. If the health care proxy wants an individual to go into a nursing home, but the person with power of attorney does not feel the state should pay for a residential facility, that impasse may then have to go before the court for proper treatment to be determined. Such disagreements can impede care and drain resources from an estate.

While the health care proxy and the power of attorney can be held by the same person, that is not always in the best interest of the estate. Someone who is good with finances may not be able to make the best decisions about health care or end-of-life decisions.

“If you have not yet done so”, says Berry, “work with your elder law attorney to execute these documents and appoint people in place to ensure your wishes are met.”