Power Attorney for Sick Mom

My mom is currently incapable of making medical and financial decisions while she is recovering from surgery and in rehab. My dad can’t always make decisions and he is caught up with his friends who are basically taking him for his money. We are trying to protect my moms part of the estate and provide care from my dad’s pension. Since my dad is financially negligent and hardly visits my mom, will a General Power of Attorney be enough to protect my mom’s estate and allow us to make decisions on her behalf? This is in California and APS says there is nothing we can do because my dad claims they are his friends.

Asked on October 2, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your mother is currently incapable of making medical and financial decisions, she cannot give you a power of attorney: only a person competent of managing her own affairs can create a POA. 
If your father is neglecting her interests, you may have to consider trying to get her declared incompetent by the courts and have someone other than your father appointed her guardian. This is a drastic step, and is apt to be difficult--courts do NOT like interfering in a married couple's internal affairs, or taking away spouse 1's rights or authority vis-a-vis spouse 2 when there is any other option. You may wish to discuss the situation at length with an elder law attorney, but be prepared that there may not be a good answer or resolution for you.

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