As you watch your parents get older, you probably wonder what will happen if they become too sick or infirm to handle important financial activities or make medical decisions for themselves. In the event one or both of your parents suffer a serious decline in health, they may need a power of attorney to act on their behalf.
You and your parents might worry about investing too much power in one power of attorney, also known as an agent. Aging Care explains that choosing multiple powers of attorney may work as an alternative.
Name different powers of attorney
There are two main types of power of attorney. One takes over financial responsibilities like paying bills, preparing taxes and making bank deposits. The other takes charge of medical decision-making, including approving medical treatments and managing care for a person.
Some people have no problem giving a single agent both of these kinds of responsibilities. However, your family can keep these powers of attorney separate, meaning you will have two different agents with separate areas of authority to act for your parents.
Name co-powers of attorney
If your parents still think one person should not have total charge of their medical care, they could select two people to act as co-agents, with each agent requiring the consent of the other before making a decision. Remember that co-agents must be able to agree on courses of action. A conflict between them could delay crucial decisions.
Families deal with possible conflict between co-agents in different ways. They can give more independence to one power of attorney or invest veto power in one agent. Make sure that the laws of the state of Washington allow for whatever power of attorney arrangement your family wants to set up.