Can POA for finances override a decision made by the POA for medical?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

This is a difficult family situation. One sibling has Durable Power of Attorney over financial decisions for his mother (85). She has dementia, Parkinson's and recently suffered two broken hips. The other sibling, with whom the mother has lived, has Durable Power for Medical Care. The DAP for finances sibling strongly feels that it is time for nursing home care. The DPA for medical sibling wants the mother brought back home with assistance at home. That particular sibling still works full time and has developed a serious drinking problem. Can the DPAHC sibling's decisions be overridden?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

The authority pursuant to a Durable Powers of Attorney and an Advance Care Directive such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care as it is referred to in some states may difer significantly depending on the precise wording of the documents. However, generally the decision as to placing someone in a nursing home would be more in the realm of the person acting with authority over health care decisions. I would suggest that both siblings meet with their mother's primary care physician to see if they can arrive at a mutually acceptable solution in their mother's best interest. Ultimately, if they cannot agree, the matter could be decided in court through a guardianship petition to ursurp the authority of each of the siblings and put the entire authority in one person. This, however, would be time-consuming and expensive. I would urge them to formulate a plan with the help of her physician.