How do you go about declaring parent incompetent?

4 answers | Last updated: Nov 22, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do you go about declaring parent incompetent?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

I'm assuming you're asking because you want some document or device, such as a power of attorney, advance directive for healthcare or conservatorship giving another person legal power to deal with your parent’s care or finances or both.

In all such cases, state laws require that the decision must be made in writing by one or two doctors or other healthcare professionals. This legal requirement sometimes seems a little offbase, since a doctor may have no idea whether your parent is equipped to deal with making financial decisions. But it's almost always done that way.

If you are convinced that one of your parents has become incompetent, you may want to gather some tangible evidence, such as long unpaid bills or documentation of dangerous living conditions, to help convince his or her attending or primary physician that some type of legal supervision is needed.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

my immediate concern is to make sure I can get medicare insurance updated for 2010 and social security has a correct address change with advanced directive. my mom can no longer take care of herself at all.

A fellow caregiver answered...

In Virginia, I got a statement from my mother's primary care doctor and took it to the Social security administration and became a ss payee. That took care of taking over for social security and medicare. This is not the same as a durable power of attorney, or advanced directive. Those were secured with the help of an elder law attorney. Hope that helps.

Harlie2010 answered...

My FIL has COPD Stage 4 and is smoking with his oxygen on and with oxygen bottles behind him. I wished I knew what we could do to show he is not thinking logically. HELP!!!! we live in Texas.