I’m worried my parent is no longer capable of making their own decisions, and they haven’t made a Power of Attorney. Is there anything I can do?

If someone you know and love is no longer able to understand the decisions they are required to make, or cannot appreciate the consequences of their actions, they may need someone to legally make decisions for them. If this happens before the person is able to appoint a Continuing Power of Attorney, they are likely unable to appoint a legal decision maker on their own.

However, while a Power of Attorney is the most common means of appointing a legal decision maker, the law also allows the court to appoint a Guardian for Property. A Guardian for Property has essentially the same powers as a Power of Attorney, but they are appointed after the incapable person has lost the capability to appoint a POA themselves.  

Under the Substitute Decisions Act, anyone can apply to be someone else’s Guardian for Property. The court will review their qualifications and relationship to the incapable person, and the applicant may have to present their plans for the incapable person’s financial and personal care. 

While anyone can apply on their own, it can be helpful to have a lawyer assist in making your application persuasive, and to make sure your application adheres to the law. If you or someone you care about needs to appoint a decision-maker, you should speak with a lawyer to discuss your options.