How can I get control over my elderly parents for medical decisions?

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How can I get control over my elderly parents for medical decisions?

My dad is 90 years old and my mother is 81. Their family doctor has decided to

take both of them off of Klonopin. I have since seen my dad get into a terrible shape and had to take him to the ER for help. My mother was the same way. Is there anything that I can do for them?

Asked on July 25, 2018 under Estate Planning, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If, despite their age, they are still mentally competent, they can give you authority over their medical decisions by creating what is commonly called a "heath care proxy" or "medical power of attorney." This is voluntary on their part--you cannot make them do this, or otherwise take authority over mentally competent adutls' medical decisions. If they want to do this, an elder law attorney can easily draw the document up.
If you believe they are no longer mentally competent--and believe there is medical evidence (e.g. the testimony and opinions of doctors who have been treating or examining them) supporting their incompetence--you could bring a legal action to have them declared incompetent and a guardian (e.g. you) appointed for them to make medical (and other) decisions. Be warned this can be a complex, expensive action to bring (among other things, you have to find doctors who can testify to their incompetence and pay those doctors for their time). If want to find out more about this option, consult with an elder law attorney or an attorney who handles cases involving the disabled.


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