Can my mother assign me as power of attorney now that she's in a nursing home?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Gsg asked...

My mother didn't want my sister to have any form of power of attorney. Now is has had a stroke and she doesn't have one appointed. My sister is the oldest child and is acting as power of attorney. Can my mother sign mine now that she is in the nursing home.

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.

If your mother is mentally competent and able to understand the purpose and effect of a power of attorney, she is legally able to make one and appoint any person she chooses to act as her agent. And she can specify that the document should take effect immediately, or only if she ever becomes unable to make her own decisions.

It is unclear what actions and decisions your sister is taking on your mother's behalf. But it is not uncommon for one sibling to step in"”often the oldest one"”and just steamroll over others' wishes.

If you need help getting a power of attorney form, or making sure that your sister is not interfering unnecessarily in your mother's care, consider getting in touch with the ombudsman assigned to the nursing home. He or she should be able to give free advice and direction in these matters. Contact information for the ombudsman should be posted in the nursing home. Or consult the national organization to find that out at: