How do we appoint Mom as Dad's Power of Attorney with out his consent?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 29, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father had a stroke last year that has left him bed-ridden. He has lost all cognitiveand motor skills. as his illness caught everyone by suprise, we have never prepared and legal documents as far as a will, estate planning, power of attorney, etc... my mom is now his caregiver, my question is, how do we appoint Power of attorney to mom now that dad cannot appoint her as such. we live in Texas. My mom has tried to obtain medical records and has been advised that they will not release any records because she is not authorized and they require the patient's signature, though clearly they well understand the patient has no functional ability to do so. Where do we start? where do we get a power of attorney. please advise.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com 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.

If your father has lost his cognitive skills, he has also lost the ability to give legal consent, which would be required for a power of attorney.

But there is another step your mom can take that will allow her to get past the frustrating bureaucracy that's preventing her from those medical records. The best option might be for her to seek a legal guardianship for your father"”which might ultimately be helpful in other areas, too, such as dealing with financial institutions and such.

Adult guardianships, also called conservatorships in some areas, used to be rather worky and often expensive to secure But they have become so widely used that these days, many courts have good help available for those who need to get them. Often there are self-help centers or free or inexpensive personnel to help with the required paperwork. In most places, it is also possible to do a quick temporary guardianship in cases where information is needed within a short time.

In general, your mother would have to establish that your father is unable to act for himself"”and that she is willing and able to take over for him. A judge will make sure the arrangement is in your father's best interests"”which sounds straightforward in the situation you describe.

To find out what is required for a guardianship in your locale, contact the nearest superior or probate court and ask for specifics.

You can also find out more on the basics of guardianship and conservatorships at https://www.caring.com/adult-guardianship.