An important point when considering how to get power of attorney for someone is an understanding of "capacity" and its opposite, "incapacity." In U.S. law, capacity refers to an individual's cognitive ability to comprehend the nature and implications of their decisions or actions. This could apply to anything from signing a contract to getting married or even making a will. In essence, capacity is about being mentally capable of making informed and rational decisions.
An example of capacity would be an elder who, while managing some age-related issues, is still lucid and aware of their decisions — including granting power of attorney to someone. This might be done as a precautionary measure, for instance, in case of future incapacity.
On the flip side, "incapacity" refers to the inability of an individual to manage their own affairs or make essential decisions. They may be incapacitated due to old age, severe illness, or a serious accident. As such, they are legally unable to grant power of attorney to someone else. For instance, a person diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's may struggle with understanding or making significant decisions. In this case, a legal process would need to be pursued to obtain power of attorney for someone who is incapacitated.