Can I become power of attorney for someone I'm not related to?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 22, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I would like to know if being a power of attorney for someone that I am not related to. Can the nursing home still put a judgement against me.

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.

You can freely be named the agent in a power of attorney, even if you are not related to the person making the document. And being an agent will not make you financially responsible for that person's debts.

Your only responsibility as an agent would be to manage his or her money and other property in that person's best interests, or according to the directions in the document itself.

If the person you're caring about is entering a nursing home, however, and you're concerned about being financially responsible, be careful not to sign any documents with the facility that designate you as the "responsible party," or something similar. That is where and how nursing homes sometimes are able to make others liable for debts, even those who are not related to the resident.

But a power of attorney alone will not make you liable for another person's debts.