The appointments of a medical power of attorney and a general durable power of attorney can sometimes lead to conflict.
Conflict can sometimes arise between a general durable power of attorney with authority over a person’s financial affairs and a medical power of attorney with authority over a person’s medical affairs. While they are completely separate, they can disagree.
Imagine a scenario in which a medical power of attorney wants the incapacitated person to receive certain medical treatments and the financial power of attorney does not. It might seem at first glance that the medical power of attorney will get his or her way. That is the area that he or she is in charge of.
However, what if the medical treatments need to be paid for out of the incapacitated person’s funds and the general power of attorney refuses to make the funds available? It would appear that an impasse has been reached.
Recently, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog suggested three steps to resolve the impasse in “How To Resolve Dispute Over Power Of Attorney.”
The steps are:
- Look at the Power of Attorney Documents – The documents granting powers of attorney may indicate how any potential conflicts between the medical and general durable power of attorneys are to be resolved.
- Mediation – If the legal documents are silent on the issue, then an independent mediator might be able to help the two sides come to a mutually agreeable solution.
- Probate Court – If all else fails, then the parties can ask a probate judge to resolve the matter. This should only be done if the previous two steps fail due to the associated time and expense involved.
An estate planning attorney can be of help in making these difficult decisions.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Nov. 11, 2015) “How To Resolve Dispute Over Power Of Attorney.”