Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Argument Against Co-Agents for Health Care

One challenge of being an attorney is to convince clients that their well thought out plans are wrong. Case in point -- when clients want all three children to have an equal say in health care decisions.

I've reviewed Wisconsin's statutes and did not find an explicit prohibition on co-agents. However, after posting to an estate planner list serve I can tell that I am not the only attorney to advise against this practice. What happens if they don't agree? What happens if one is not available? And the scenarios continue.

When it comes to naming an agent for your power of attorney for health care I always advise that clients select:
  • someone who is comfortable speaking with medical personnel;
  • someone who can handle seeing you in a very compromised state; and
  • someone who has the time to be at your bedside.
I should add to that list -- pick a someone, not someones. You can have an order of succession, but one is most likely best.

As always, a blog post is intended to spark discussion, not dispense legal advice. I highly recommend you speak with an attorney in your state about your situation before taking action.

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