As many of us are aware, powers of attorney help to avoid the need for a court-ordered Guardianship or Conservatorship later in life, but in some instances, these powers are not drafted to cover all circumstances (even though many of these such directives are written broadly). For example, I was involved in a case-matter in which siblings argued over who has power to make placement decisions for their mother. One family member was made power of attorney pursuant to a directive mom had signed, which covered certain decisions concerning medical treatment. This family member, along with her counsel, believed it was broad enough to cover living arrangements (placement) and daily living matters. The other siblings decided this sibling did not have such authority (outside of hospital admittance) and claimed that the power of attorney directive was not specific enough.
Therefore, the opposing siblings proceeded to petition the probate court for guardianship whereas daily living and more specific decisions concerning where mom lived can be made by a court-appointed fiduciary. Fortunately, the family settled on having the court grant a guardianship to a neutral family member while preserving the remainder of powers instilled in the power of attorney directive.
The takeaway in this example is to make sure that powers of attorney are drafted specifically to include often overlooked matters, such as placement and daily living decisions in addition to medical treatment. It is encouraged that individuals review their power of attorney directives, for both medical and financial decisions, to ensure their needs are specifically addressed. I am happy to help. Readers are invited to contact me at Gee Law for a free consultation!
Kevin Gee is an experienced Michigan attorney ready to assist you with your business and estate planning needs.