What Can We Learn From Tyler Christopher? Understanding the Importance of Durable Power of Attorney

It all started in November of 2019 when daytime soap actor (and Eva Longoria’s ex-husband), Tyler Christopher, fell in his bathroom and hit his head on the back of the bathtub. The General Hospital star fractured his skull and was rushed to the hospital. While he was recovering from a life-saving craniotomy surgery, his sister filed a petition to put him under her guardianship.

After his recovery, Christopher sued his sister and alleged via court papers, that his sister misspent (or improperly received reimbursement for) $40K to pay down her own credit card debt, bankroll her move, and buy her son a MacBook. Christopher has also petitioned the Court to be released from his guardianship. The case is still pending, but regardless of how this plays out, there’s plenty for us to learn.

Importance of Durable Power of Attorney

We can learn the value of a durable power of attorney document.

Understanding Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney allows an individual (the principal) to name a person (the agent) to manage the principal’s financial affairs in the event that the principal can’t manage them for themselves. In short, the power of attorney allows us to pick our own agent(s) before we actually need them. If there is no power of attorney, a guardianship court proceeding will be needed to appoint a legal guardian to act on behalf of the incapacitated individual (the ward).

Choosing Your Agent Wisely

The Judge will select someone that they believe will do the best job, but it may not be the person that we would select. Problems can ensue when family members are appointed as guardians, especially if we haven’t chosen them as our agents.

Minimizing Risks with Proper Planning

Now, who knows it could have been that Christopher would have selected his sister as his agent in his power of attorney and he would have had the same outcome. However, the assumption is that we know our people best and we can pick the agents that will best serve us. There is an argument to be made that we can minimize the risk of malfeasance when we select our agents through a power of attorney versus having a Court appointed guardian (in the middle of a crisis situation).


And there you have it. We learn that one must be careful not to slip in the bathroom and that the durable power of attorney document is one that we hope to never need, but boy

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With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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