If you are someones power of attorney for health care are you legally responsible for their health and well being

we have a family member that gave her son power of attorney for health care and general power of attorney we have tried to seek help because she does not want to take care of herself and refuses to see a rd and says she cant eat she wants to live on ensure we have tried everything that we know of and have tried to get her the help that she needs but everywhere we have been they say that there is nothing wrong with her can we be help responsible if she refuses to eat and something bad happens

Clinton, TN -

Attorney Answers (3)

Edwin Arnold Anderson

Edwin Arnold Anderson

Social Security Lawyers - Knoxville, TN

Here is a starting point for you.


The fact that someone has been appointed POA doesn't require them to act. They can always refuse to act.

You might think about filing for a conservatorship if she can't (and won't) take care of herself. You'll need a lawyer to help you with this. We handle them in our office.

Good luck.

If you would like a consultation, call (865) 522-9000 to make an appointment. The information you obtain at... more
Martha Ann Knutson

Martha Ann Knutson

Health Care Lawyer - San Diego, CA

Most health care powers of attorney do not take effect until the person involved becomes incapable of making or expressing a decision about their health care needs. Not a good (versus a bad) decision - any decision. They are usually also written so a health care provider / physician needs to make the "incapacity" determination.

Sounds like that hasn't happened in the case you describe and that health care providers have examined your family member without finding her "incapable". If all that correct, she - note her POA - is still responsible for making her own decisions.

Also, no one can be forced to be a someone else's power of attorney - so if the possible responsibilities of serving in that role are making the son uncomfortable, it may be time to find someone else to serve.

Good luck - sounds like a challenging situation.

This response is intended to provide general information, but not legal advice. The response may be different if... more
Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Estate Planning Attorney - Largo, FL

No-but the person has a "moral responsibility".
If they do not want the responsibilty-they should have the document revoked.
The POA should be reissued or a guardianship started.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of... more

Related Advice

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.