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Can I apply for medical power of attorney for my Dad he lives in California and I am in Washington State.

San Jose, CA |

My Dad is en-coherent and in an care home since he had a stroke on January 10th, he has always requested never keep him alive with machines and now he is on a feeding machine cannot talk except to repeat what you say and is wearing a diaper. Cannot walk or get around at all and my family wants me to have the feeding tube removed.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I am so very sorry to hear you're going through this. The fact that you're in a different state than your father does not preclude you from acting as his agent in the context of a medical power of attorney (also known as an advance health care directive). However, power of attorney can only be granted by the person who is relinquishing the power, i.e., your father. Given his current medical state, he probably no longer has the capacity necessary to grant power of attorney to you. If he lacks capacity you might need to pursue a conservatorship in court. You could definitely benefit from a conversation with an elder law attorney.


  2. I'm very sorry to hear about your father. Based on the information you provided, I assume your father never executed a health care directive or a living will. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that he has capacity to make that decision. It looks like you're going to have to petition the court to be named your father's conservator. The fact that you live in another state shouldn't matter. You should certainly talk to an elder law attorney to give you the most sound advice considering the circumstances. Good luck, and again, my condolences.


  3. No. Nobody can apply for POA. Only a person with requisite capacity can give POA. You can apply to court for guardianship/conservatorship authority to manage health care, withdraw life support, manage finances, and such. See an elder law attorney for details.

    Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.

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