Brandon Elder Lawyer: Think Twice Before Authorizing ALL Your Kids to Serve as Medical Power of Attorney

Any Brandon Elder Lawyer will tell you that naming someone to act as your Medical Power of Attorney is a crucial part of estate planning.  However, this is not always an easy decision.  Most people will choose an adult child for this role, but when you have multiple children, the decision can get a bit more complicated. There are many problems that can arise if you grant more than one person the legal authority to speak for you if you become disabled or incapacitated.  Some of the top issues your family may face include:

  1. Losing critical time due to group decision-making. Medical emergencies are rarely known in advance, and often, decisions need to be made immediately. If each child/agent needs to be located and a consensus needs to be reached, you could lose valuable time.
  2. Long-distance decision-makers can be problematic. Ideally, your agent should be located close to you so they can get to your side quickly. If some of your children are located further away, they may not be the right person(s) to serve as an agent.
  3. There could be disagreements. Medical decisions are not always cut and dry, and knowing the best thing to do can be difficult. Naming multiple agents means that everyone has to agree, and this can be an emotional and exhausting process for your loved ones. You can help avoid family infighting and tension by simply putting one person in control.
  4. They need similar values. We always advise our clients to pick an agent who has similar values to their own when it comes to health care. You know better than anyone that your children are all different and may not see eye-to-eye with you.  For example, if you would never want to live in a vegetative state, but your adult child does not share your beliefs about ending life-support or life-sustaining treatment, you will be forced to undergo medical care that is against your deepest wishes.  For that reason, it’s best to choose the adult child whose beliefs and values are most similar to your own.

If you have questions about naming a Medical Power of Attorney or would like help walking through your options, give us a call at 813.438.8503. We can help you choose the best person and get the legal documents in place that will help you stay empowered in your medical care, even if you can’t speak for yourself.

2017-06-09T10:25:11+00:00