The Difference Between a Power of Attorney & Health Care Proxy

When a loved one is in the hospital, there can be confusion and uncertainty about what to do when difficult decisions need to be made for them.The Difference Between a Power of Attorney & Health Care Proxy

In order to avoid disagreements between family members and ensure that the loved one’s medical treatment instructions are carried out, it is beneficial to appoint an individual to be both the designated power of attorney and the health care proxy.

In this blog, we will discuss the difference between the two and why it’s best to appoint one family member as both.

What is a Health Care Proxy?

A health care proxy, also known as medical power of attorney, has the authority to make medical decisions and communicate your wishes if you are not able to express the information due to a medical emergency.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney has the authority to make financial decisions. As a chosen representative, a power of attorney has the ability to pay the senior’s bills, manage their investments, or direct their medical care.

How the Healthcare Proxy and Power of Attorney Have to Work Together

If a health care proxy decides that a senior living community would be best for the individual, the power of attorney must release the funds to pay for it. If the health proxy decides that the senior citizen should have 24-hour home care, but your power of attorney thinks a nursing home is the best option and refuses to pay for the at-home care, it could cause conflict. The disagreement would then need to be settled by a court, which not only takes time, but it puts a strain on the relationship and drains the family’s resources in the process.

To avoid conflict, it is recommended that one child is appointed as both the power of attorney and the healthcare proxy.

Related Article: How to Get a Power of Attorney for a Sick Parent in California

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