This article covers how to get power of attorney over a parent.
And, in this article, you’ll learn about:
Let’s dig in.
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You’re here to learn how to get power of attorney over a parent.
Getting a power of attorney for elderly parents can be complex.
First, we want to teach you about power of attorneys.
And everything you’ll need to know to make the best decision possible.
Because making the wrong decisions can leave you powerless in an emergency.
When your parents need your help the most.
A power of attorney over a parent allows the child to act on the parent’s behalf.
When you get power of attorney for an elderly parent, you are the “agent.”
And your parents would be the “principal.”
An agent is expected to act in the best interest of their parents.
A power of attorney for parents allows their child to make decisions about:
Most elderly parents need multiple types of power of attorneys.
An estate planning attorney can help you figure out which power of attorney for your parents is best.
A power of attorney over a parent gives the child the authority to make decisions for their parents.
Which type of power of attorney a child gets determines what they can do for their parents.
(We will cover the types of power of attorneys for elderly parents below.)
When an elderly parent gets a power of attorney, the child can help when:
There are two people that can override a power of attorney for a parent:
These are the two people who can override a power of attorney for a parent.
But let’s assume that the POA is not acting in the parent’s best interests.
A sibling, or anyone else, can contest the power of attorney over a parent.
Let’s assume the judge determines that the POA is not acting in the parent’s best interest.
They can revoke the power of attorney over an elderly parent.
The principal (the parent) has the ability to revoke power of attorney for elderly parents at any time.
They can revoke power of attorney for elderly parents for any reason, without explanation.
There is one exception, though.
A mentally incompetent parent cannot revoke power of attorney.
Also, creating a new power of attorney over parents revokes old POAs that were created.
But only if the new power of attorney over an elderly parent states the old ones are voided.
So, let’s talk about how to revoke power of attorney for elderly parents.
If a new power of attorney is created, you’d state that any old POAs are voided.
A child can revoke their power of attorney for elderly parents too.
To do so, write a formal letter to the principal relinquishing your POA.
Have this letter notarized and mail it to your parents to notify them.
A power of attorney can end for parents for several reasons.
A power of attorney for parents will end when:
When a power of attorney ends for parents, the agent loses all authority.
And decisions that need to get made have to go through the probate process.
A general power of attorney for parents is a broad power of attorney.
It gives the agent authority to act financially and legally on their parent’s behalf.
A general POA is great for elderly parents who are still healthy.
Some elderly parents will get a general POA just to get help with financial and personal matters.
A general power of attorney for an elderly parent allows the child to:
But it’s important to note that a general power of attorney over a parent is non-durable.
This means that if the parent becomes incapacitated, the POA becomes void.
A parent getting dementia is an example of becoming incapacitated.
Mental incapacity is when a parent is unable to make informed decisions.
Mental incapacity also includes a parent’s:
When you’re looking at how to get power of attorney over a parent, consider a durable POA too.
A durable power of attorney over a parent gives you authority even if your parents are incapacitated.
A general POA’s authority becomes void when your parents become incapacitated.
So, you lose your authority if they:
These are just a couple of scenarios you can potentially face with elderly parents.
Unless you have a durable power of attorney over a parent, you lose the ability to:
Basically, you legally lose all of your ability to help your parents.
You should really have a durable power of attorney for elderly parents.
This is a good option for parents that are fine, but it covers you in case they become incapacitated.
A medical power of attorney is also known as a healthcare proxy or healthcare agent.
This is a good POA to have when a parent is faced with:
When you know medical treatments are looming, you should have a medical power of attorney.
The medical POA will go into effect in the event that your parents become incapacitated.
It’s your job to make sure that doctors follow your parent’s wishes as noted in the medical POA.
In the event of end-of-life care, it allows you to make decisions for them.
These decisions include, but are not limited to:
A limited power of attorney over a parent gives kids limited power for a limited time.
Normally, limited POAs are created for a specific task.
It could be something like signing the paperwork on a parent’s behalf to sell a house.
A springing power of attorney for an elderly parent goes into effect when:
A durable POA goes into effect only when a parent becomes incapacitated.
But a springing POA also can go into effect when conditions you designate are met.
When creating a springing power of attorney for a parent, they designate their own conditions.
Some common conditions include, but are not limited to:
A parent can make anything trigger their springing power of attorney.
Related: Penalty For Stealing From An Estate
Let’s talk about the steps for how to get power of attorney for elderly parents.
And everything you need to do to get power of attorney over a parent.
Note that an estate planning lawyer would guide you through this.
And they handle it all for you.
But it’s okay to get a power of attorney for elderly parents without one.
You can find power of attorney forms here.
You’ll need to figure out your state’s power of attorney laws.
For example, some states require some, or all, of the following:
For example, a power of attorney in Georgia requires all of the above.
But other states may not require you to have witnesses.
If you miss these requirements, the power of attorney for your parents is not valid.
Which could be terrible in an emergency situation.
Choose the type of power of attorney for you’ll need for your parents.
You can do general so that you can do anything for your parents.
Or it can be limited so that you’re only responsible for certain tasks.
But, whichever route you take, we suggest making a durable power of attorney for your parents.
Related: Consequences Of Not Probating A Will
A durable power of attorney for finances is really important for elderly parents.
This will allow you to manage their finances when they become incapacitated.
Your parents need to decide what authority they want to provide you with the power of attorney.
Let’s say that your parents are fine today, but they have been diagnosed with a degenerative condition.
In this care, you’d want a durable power of attorney for your parents.
And you’d want to be able to take over the finances and healthcare decisions for them.
Without having to get approval from a judge or the medical team treating them.
Let’s say that your parents are traveling in retirement.
A non-durable power of attorney over your parents might be better.
This way, you can handle any financial issues that come up while they are gone.
Some examples of rights power of attorney over parents to discuss would be:
This is obviously not an all-inclusive list.
It’s just some examples.
Related: What An Executor Cannot Do
You’ve figured out how to get power of attorney over a parent.
And what type of power of attorney for an elderly parent you need.
Now, it’s time to make sure that you have the correct power of attorney forms.
Make sure that the power of attorney form is durable or non-durable as needed.
You can get the power of attorney forms by filling out the forms on this page.
Or check out our estate planning products.
Related: Disadvantages Of A Trust
You should consider consulting an estate planning lawyer.
They have a comprehensive understanding of state-specific laws.
And the laws for a power of attorney over a parent vary from state to state.
You want your POA for elderly parents to reflect your unique needs.
And you don’t want to be left powerless in an emergency because you did something wrong.
Your lawyer can make sure that you have all the rights you’re seeking with a POA.
Executing a power of attorney is not hard.
In most states, you’ll need to sign the power of attorney for an elderly parent:
You do not need a lawyer to be present to sign a power of attorney for your parents.
But most lawyers are also notaries.
So, if you’re consulting an attorney, have them notarize your POA at the same time.
Note that the child receiving the power of attorney cannot be the witness for the signing.
Having your POA notarized is the most important step.
Most hospitals, doctors, banks, financial institutions require you to have a notarized POA.
Otherwise, they won’t give you access or authority for anything.
After you get the power of attorney for your elderly parents executed, make copies.
Your parents should keep the original copy.
And they should give copies to the proper people.
They can CC you and email a copy to the following people:
CC’ing you allows you to reference that email later on and talk to the person that received the POA.
You do not need the original copy to make decisions on your parent’s behalf.
Figuring out how to get power of attorney over a parent can be complex.
Here are some of the most common questions we get from our clients.
Getting a power of attorney for a parent with dementia is more difficult.
But how to get a power of attorney for a parent is not hard.
You have two options, but it depends on what stage of dementia your parents have.
If it’s early-stage dementia, you may be able to get a power of attorney over your parents.
If it’s early-stage dementia, they may still have the capacity to understand:
It’s important to consult an attorney when trying to get a power of attorney for a parent with dementia.
You may need to get a written letter from the doctor who diagnosed dementia.
Stating that your parents have the mental capacity to understand the power of attorney.
It may seem dumb to you and your parents.
But if their mental capacity can be in question, it can mess things up later.
And the power of attorney for a parent with dementia can get contested.
Which means you’ll have to go to court to get approved to have the authority.
And you don’t want that when you’re in an emergency situation you need to make decisions in.
Let’s talk about late-stage dementia now.
Your parents won’t be of sound mind to sign a POA.
You’ll need to petition the courts to get:
Related: Conservatorship vs Guardianship
You’re trying to figure out how to get power of attorney for an incapacitated parent.
The first thing you should do is check if they have a living will.
And, if they do, see if they have given you power of attorney in the living will.
Let’s assume, for this discussion, that you do not have power of attorney for an incapacitated parent.
You’ll need to petition the courts to get power of attorney over an incapacitated parent.
But they won’t give you power of attorney.
They will give you conservatorship and guardianship.
This gives you the authority you need to make decisions on their behalf.
And manage their finances if needed.
Related: Do You Need Guardianship If You Have Power Of Attorney
Getting a power of attorney for your mom allows you to act legally on her behalf.
To get a power of attorney for your mom:
Related: How To Get A Will
You want to know what to do when an elderly parent is mentally incompetent.
Let’s assume you don’t have a power of attorney.
This means that you cannot make decisions on their behalf.
You can’t access medical records or make medical decisions for them.
You can’t access their financials to pay bills and access money.
Basically, you’re a sitting duck.
And you cannot help your parents when they need help the most.
But you do have options.
Here’s what to do when an elderly parent is mentally incompetent.
You can apply to become their guardian and conservator.
You’ll need a written note from a doctor declaring them mentally incompetent.
The judge will review this evidence with your petition.
And grant you authority over an elderly parent who is mentally incompetent.
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