Can you be appointed as the power of attorney for someone if you're incompetent?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 24, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Can you get power of attorney for a sibling if you are on disability due to mental incompetency after attempting to commit suicide and having the Baker Act come into play?


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.

Receiving disability payments alone would not generally disqualify someone from serving as an agent in a power of attorney. But the situation you describe sounds a bit more complicated.

Florida law, where the Baker Act is enforced, requires that a person who acts as an agent must be 18 years old or older"”and be "mentally competent." That basically means that the person must be able to understand exactly what is at stake when signing a contract or taking other legal action on behalf of another person.

This can always be difficult and confusing"”but realistically, can be even more complicated or even legally questionable if the person is committed or ordered into treatment as the Baker Act allows.

A better alternative for your sibling would be to find another person to name as agent in the power of attorney.

A good place to go for more self-help information and possible resources for low-cost legal help if needed is the Florida Legal Aid Society at www.floridalawhelp.org/FL/index.cfm/index.cfm.