One of the most frequent questions asked of elder law attorneys is whether the same person can fill multiple roles when it comes to someone’s end of life affairs. The simple answer to the questions of multiple roles is yes, the same person can have multiple responsibilities; however, the question you really need to consider is should they.
Roles People Play in End-of-Life Affairs
Two of the most important roles you will need to fill when it comes to your end-of-life affairs are the healthcare surrogate and the executor of the estate. These roles have quite contrasting functions and may not be best suited to the skills of the same person.
A Healthcare surrogate is appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. Your healthcare surrogate, sometimes also called a medical power of attorney, should be available and close by to make decisions on your behalf. Sometimes, especially when near the end of life, a backup surrogate is added for when decisions cannot wait.
The executor of the estate is the person who will handle the financial and legal affairs left over after your death. Executors are also called a durable power of attorney and can make financial decisions on your behalf while you are still living if needed. This person should be able to help manage your personal affairs and act as an authority.
Elder law attorneys often see clients who have multiple children. One adult child usually handles medical issues as a healthcare surrogate, and the other responsibilities of being power of attorney. However, some parents will choose to have multiple powers of attorney or surrogates, though this is not always recommended by elder law attorneys. Having multiple people in the same role requires being able to work together without tension, argument, and unanimously when making decisions. Keep the personalities of your appointees in mind when assigning roles and delegating matters in your end-of-life affairs.
If you are interested in talking to an attorney about your health surrogates and power of attorney options, call The Law Office of Kimberly K. Muenter at 941-229-2529.