Individuals may lose decision-making ability, requiring delegation. This can be partial, like with medical power of attorney, or comprehensive, as in guardianship.
In most cases, a medical power of attorney overrides guardianship especially in decisions that involve medical decisions.
It becomes effective when the designated individual can’t decide.
Some MPOAs grant full medical decision-making power, while others have restrictions. Typically, it’s paired with a living will detailing medical preferences.
States oversee MPOA, with varied names and rules.
Some use “healthcare proxy” and differ for minors/adults. In some, MPOA needs a paired living will or advance medical directive to be valid.
Guardianship is a broad responsibility.
Court-appointed guardians have the power to decide financial and personal matters for their wards.
Adults may require guardians when they can’t make valid choices in areas like finances, housing, or legal affairs.
While minors often need guardians due to legal incapacity, adults generally get them if they can’t show the ability to make rational decisions.
Who can be a guardian or hold an MPOA?
In certain situations, a guardian could be a family member or a close friend.
For instance, when someone shows signs of cognitive decline or incapacity, family or business associates might request a court-appointed guardian. I
If no suitable family member is apparent or there is competition for the role, the court may select a neutral party as the guardian.
Which role is paramount?
In most cases, a medical power of attorney (MPOA) decision overrides guardianship when both are in place for the same person, especially in medical matters.
This is because the MPOA representative is chosen by the principal, who may not have been involved in selecting the guardian.
Additionally, MPOAs typically contain detailed instructions on the individual’s preferences, which a guardian is unlikely to possess.
It’s worth mentioning that you can reduce the potential need for a court-appointed guardian by designating both medical and general power of attorney while you are capable.