How to Get a Power of Attorney for a Sick/Incompetent Parent?


A parent or a family member may fall sick and be unable to take decisions on their own. In such a situation you’ll need a power of attorney that will let somebody to act in their place.

A power of attorney is a legal document that empowers someone, known as the attorney-in-fact or agent, to make medical or financial decisions and perform legal acts on behalf of another, known as the principal.

You can act on behalf of your parent or other family members, in all matters, where you are given authority to do so. You can consult an estate attorney in Alexandria to get the POA drafted for your parents.

Process of getting Valid POA over your parent(s)

  1. Powers of attorney can either be limited to certain decisions or be very broad, granting authority to accomplish almost any task. You can assist your parents with understanding POA, the power they wish to grant you and whether to go for durable or nondurable POA.
  1. Contact an Estate Planning Attorney to prepare the power of attorney or you can download the document to draft your own POA.
  1. Get your parent to sign the POA. Certain states require the document to be attested by the notary public.
  1. Make copies of the power of attorney document and keep the original safe. Notify the principal’s bank or other financial institutions as well as anyone who may be called upon to rely on the power of attorney for future transactions.



A valid power of attorney, however, must meet certain conditions. It should be drawn and signed when the principal is mentally competent and lucid.  Typically, the principal must demonstrate his competence at time of signing, for the POA to be ruled valid.

How to get POA if the parent is incompetent?

If your parent is no longer mentally competent, you will be unable to validly execute a power of attorney. In such cases, you have limited options:

Intermittent Incompetence

If your loved-one’s competence comes and goes, you can still get a valid POA. Your parent can execute a power of attorney when competent. However, the law requires a statement from the physicians to verify the competence of the principal at the time of signing.


In case, the competence of your loved one is never coming back, you can’t have POA. However, there are other options that you can pursue.

When a person cannot regain his competence, one can file for conservatorship or “guardianship of the estate”. This vests the conservator with powers similar as the “attorney-in-fact”, responsible for the assets and finances of the incapacitated person.

If you would like assistance in setting up your own estate plan, you can contact an experienced estate planning lawyer at (703) 553-2577 or