How to Get a Power of Attorney for a Sick Parent

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

How to Get a Power of Attorney for a Sick Parent

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

A power of attorney allows you to make financial decisions on another person's behalf. Having the ability to make important decisions on behalf of your parent may become particularly urgent when they fall ill. This authority will give you the ability to make financial and health care decisions on their behalf.

A doctor and young woman putting their hands on the shoulder of an elderly woman in a hospital bed

You must draft the power of attorney document before your parent becomes mentally incapacitated. It is valid if your parent is mentally competent, regardless of their physical condition. Follow these steps to obtain authority through a POA before your parent becomes ill.

1. Determine your state's requirements.

Research your state's laws regarding execution. For example, some states require witnesses be present when signing the document. Remember that your parent must be mentally competent when signing, otherwise it will generally not be valid. If they are not mentally competent, find out whether a signed POA already exists. If your parent created and signed one while they were mentally competent, it should still be valid.

2. Consider durability.

Consider whether the authority given should be durable or nondurable. A durable POA continues to be valid after the grantor is incompetent. A nondurable one is no longer valid if the grantor is no longer competent. As a result, if the parties want the to continue after the grantor becomes incompetent, choosing durable authority is most appropriate.

3. Find the correct power of attorney form.

Obtain the appropriate form. You can usually find a template at an office supply store or online on various websites. You may be able to fill out the form online and then print it out for signing.

4. Discuss powers granted with your parent.

Consult with your parent. If they are mentally competent, fill out the form. Label your parent as the principal, or the person granting authority. You are the agent, also known as the attorney-in-fact. Indicate which powers the form grants you.

5. Have the document notarized.

Arrange for a notary to be present at a meeting with you and your parent, and have your identification ready to give them. If your state requires witnesses to the signatures, the witnesses must also be present at the meeting. You and your parent will then sign the power of attorney form and the notary will verify the signatures.

6. Distribute copies to the parties involved.

Make photocopies, and store the original document in a safe place. Unlike some documents, such as a will, a copy of the POA is valid for any purpose.

Obtaining power of attorney for a parent when they are sick allows you to oversee financial matters on their behalf, which is particularly important if they become incompetent. Anyone may sign it if they are mentally competent upon the execution of the document. Comply with any other requirements of your state when executing a POA. If your parent is sick, do not delay. Make sure that you obtain the power and authority to make decision on your parent's behalf as soon as possible.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.