How To Make a Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent?

Updated October 13, 2023
12 min read
How To Make a Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent?


It's an uncomfortable topic we seldom talk about, but the truth is, as our parents age, there may come a time when making decisions becomes challenging for them. This is when the concept of a power of attorney for elderly parents comes to the fore. In this article, we demystify this concept and guide you on the 'how-to's of getting power of attorney for your elderly parent. So, let's start and navigate this road together.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes an individual (referred to as the agent) to act and make decisions on behalf of another person (the principal). In the situation of a "power of attorney for an elderly parent," it can offer peace of mind in case the parent can no longer manage their affairs due to declining health or other issues.

What Are the Different Types of Powers of Attorney?

Understanding the types of powers of attorney available is crucial in drawing up a power of attorney for an elderly parent. Each type gives varying parameters and functions depending on the needs and conditions of your parent. Here are the key types typically employed when considering power of attorney.

  • A durable power of attorney: This type of power of attorney for an elderly parent remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. It is often used to prepare for the future, as it allows the agent to manage long-term obligations and transactions. This type covers healthcare and financial decisions and can offer peace of mind, knowing your elderly parent's affairs will be taken care of, even if their cognitive health declines.

  • Springing power of attorney: Unique in its activation, the springing power of attorney for an elderly parent only becomes effective when the parent is deemed mentally incapacitated. Before it springs into action, specific conditions, as written in the agreement, need to be met, generally a certification by a medical professional.

  • General power of attorney: Within a power of attorney for an elderly parent setting, a general power of attorney grants the agent the authority to perform nearly any act the principal can do himself or herself, such as signing documents, handling financial transactions, and making decisions about business.

  • Limited or special power of attorney: As a more focused and narrower instrument, this power of attorney for a parent bases its weight on specified functions or transactions. For instance, your elderly father might give you power of attorney to manage a real estate deal he is unable to attend.

It's significant to note that whichever type you intend to draft, a power of attorney for an elderly parent is usually employed. You may find proficient help at Lawrina, where navigating the legal sphere of power of attorney is made easier with various templates.

Reasons of Power of Attorney for an Aging Parent

There are several compelling reasons for creating a power of attorney for an elderly parent. Let's walk through some of these:

  1. Ensuring sound financial management: As our parents age, managing finances and legal matters can become burdensome and sometimes prone to error. A power of attorney for an elderly parent allows a trusted individual to step in and help ensure everything runs smoothly.

  2. Addressing healthcare decisions: Health complications can sometimes impede a person's ability to make sound healthcare decisions. A durable elderly power of attorney ensures that health matters are handled accurately and in line with your parent's wishes if they can't articulate their desires or are unable to understand their medical predicaments.

  3. Protecting against elder fraud: Senior citizens have unfortunately become prime targets for financial fraud and abuse. Through legal arrangements such as the power of attorney, you can protect your elderly parent from falling victim to such exploitation.

  4. Planning for unexpected situations: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes, accidents, illnesses, or mental decline can happen without warning. Having an elderly power of attorney already in place can alleviate stress in emergency situations as the designated agent can make necessary decisions promptly.

  5. Providing peace of mind: Arguably the most important reason. Knowing there is someone trustworthy who can step in when needed gives peace of mind to the principal and other family members. It ensures that, no matter what happens, there's a plan for taking care of your parent's affairs.

Every reason emphasizes the importance of planning ahead for our parents' well-being. Establishing power of attorney for parents isn't a loss of their independence but rather a safety net established out of love, respect, and a deep desire for their protection and comfort.

When To Set Up a Power of Attorney?

The timing to set up a power of attorney for an elderly parent varies significantly for each family. However, legal and elder care professionals often recommend setting up a power of attorney sooner rather than later. Ideally, it should be established while your parent is still in good mental and physical health. This allows them to fully participate and understand the details and implications of the power of attorney agreement. They can actively contribute to the decisions regarding their future, which leads to better and more personalized planning.

Take, for instance, a scenario under U.S. law where a parent suffers a sudden debilitating ailment that leaves them mentally incapacitated with no power of attorney for an elderly parent in place. In such circumstances, the lack of a power of attorney could lead you to petition a court for guardianship or conservatorship, which can be a lengthy and costly affair. 

However, if a power of attorney for the parent had been established earlier, the process would have been much smoother, with the parent's wishes clearly documented and the ability to act on their behalf readily available. Remember, as per U.S law, for any power of attorney to be valid, the principal — here, the elderly parent — must have the mental capacity to understand the document when they sign it.

How To Obtain Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent?

Creating a power of attorney for an elderly parent involves a step-by-step process that ensures all the essential details are addressed accordingly. Here are the steps involved:

  • Have a detailed discussion with your parent: Because a power of attorney for an elderly parent gives tremendous authority to the agent, it's crucial to have an open conversation about the implications involved. Ensure your parent understands the powers they are bestowing and that they fully agree to it.

  • Identify the type of power of attorney required: This generally depends on the unique needs of your parent. It could range from a general power of attorney that covers nearly everything to a more specific one for particular decisions.

  • Nominate a reliable agent: The selected individual should ideally be someone the parent trusts implicitly. It can be a family member, friend, or an attorney who will act in the best interests of the parent.

  • Consult a lawyer: It's generally recommended to consult a lawyer experienced in elder law affairs to make sure all legal requirements are met. If you don't have one, you can consult lawyers at Lawrina.

  • Prepare the document: You can either manually prepare the power of attorney document or use a professional power of attorney template. The latter ensures you have all the necessary sections covered and offers a professional structure to your agreement.

  • Sign the document: Once the power of attorney document for your elderly parent is prepared, it must be signed by the parent (principal) in the presence of a notary. The notary must confirm that the parent is of sound mind and understands the content of the document.

Remember, a power of attorney for an elderly parent is a significant step, and it's crucial to ensure your parent is comfortable and in agreement with every step of the process.

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How should a parent choose a power of attorney agent?

When it comes to selecting an agent for a power of attorney for an elderly parent, care, and consideration must be taken to ensure the chosen individual is reliable, trustworthy, and capable of making decisions to the parent's best advantage. The agent should have a good understanding of the parent's situations, preferences, and requirements. It's utterly crucial that the selected person is someone the parent trusts implicitly, considering the substantial responsibilities that come along with a power of attorney.

Sometimes, due to family dynamics or other factors, it may be best to choose a trusted friend, attorney, or financial advisor to take on this role for the elderly parent. Professional agents may charge for their services, but this could be worth the peace of mind knowing that the parent's interests are professionally managed. Transparency, reliability, and a good understanding of the parent's wishes are the three most significant factors to bear in mind when choosing an agent for a power of attorney for an elderly parent.


As we witness our parents age, guiding them to establish a power of attorney for an elderly parent becomes an essential step in protecting their interests and ensuring their well-being. This well-thought process reflects deep care and love as it involves helping our parents map out strategies for when making decisions could become a challenge. Having a power of attorney in place guarantees that they receive the help they need at the right time and that their financial and personal matters are managed in a way they'd approve of.

Moreover, taking the initiative to set up a power of attorney for your elderly parent might feel daunting, but remember, it's a proactive approach that protects your parents' autonomy and wishes. It goes beyond ensuring they get the help they require; it safeguards their dignity and their right to decide how their affairs should be handled. Therefore, consider a power of attorney not only as a legal document but also as a testament of respect, care, and love for your aging parents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I revoke a power of attorney for an elderly parent if they're mentally incapacitated?

As a rule, a power of attorney for an elderly parent can only be revoked by the principal, meaning your parent would be the one to revoke the power. For such a revocation to be valid, the principal must be mentally competent. If the parent has become mentally incapacitated, they cannot legally revoke the power of attorney.


Furthermore, in situations where there may be abuse or misuse of the power of attorney for an elderly parent, one will need to consult with an attorney or the court system. In the U.S, the court can overturn a power of attorney if it deems the agent is not acting in the best interests of the principal.


Does a power of attorney for an elderly parent grant control over personal decisions like where they live?

This largely depends on the type of power of attorney that's been established. A general power of attorney for an elderly parent can grant broad powers, including decisions related to living arrangements, while a more limited or specific power of attorney might restrict such control.


In the U.S., it is essential to be specific in the power of attorney for an elderly parent document about what influences the agent holds. If it is desired that the agent has control over such decisions, it should be clearly stated in the agreement. As always, because these issues may be sensitive, it's beneficial to have open and honest discussions about wishes and expectations.


Do I need a lawyer to set up a power of attorney for an elderly parent?

While it's not a legal necessity to employ a lawyer when setting up a power of attorney form for an elderly parent, it can be very advantageous. A lawyer can provide sound advice, ensure that all legal requirements are met, and help avoid pitfalls down the line.


Remember, the requirements for executing a power of attorney for an elderly parent can vary from state to state in the U.S. and can be complex. Legal professionals can provide the expertise needed to navigate these waters. However, if hiring an attorney is not feasible, you can consider using professional online resources and templates to help with the process.