Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Establishing Power of Attorney for Your Loved One with Dementia

Establishing Power of Attorney for Your Loved One with Dementia


If your loved one recently received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you’re likely experiencing a range of difficult emotions right now. In addition to processing these emotions, you and your family will need to convene with your loved one to make plans for their current and future needs. This can all be overwhelming, especially as you come to terms with the grief you are likely to experience. Nonetheless, it is absolutely crucial that you move quickly to ensure that your loved one is well provided for.

The Virginia Beach elder law attorneys at The Law Offices of Angela N. Manz help seniors and their loved ones prepare estate plans to meet complex medical needs. In this article, we will discuss establishing a durable power of attorney for an older relative who is facing a dementia diagnosis.

What is a power of attorney? 

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another individual to act on behalf of someone else in regard to their health care or financial needs. While there are many types of power of attorney, a durable power of attorney is the most common for older adults facing a dementia diagnosis.

Approaches to the power of attorney 

Who will have power of attorney over your loved one? This is an important decision. The individual who is named power of attorney is called the agent. This person should be a trusted loved one who is willing and able to handle complex medical and financial decisions and responsibilities on behalf of their older adult.

Some families will choose to split the power of attorney between two loved ones. This ensures that one person is not in charge of every decision. In these cases, families will divide duties into healthcare decisions and financial decisions with one individual acting as agent over each domain.

Hopefully, you can establish a power of attorney in the early stages of dementia 

Ideally, your loved one would name a trusted relative as their POA prior to any medical crisis. If your loved one is still in the early stages of their dementia diagnosis, you and your loved one should have no trouble establishing a POA. You will first want to meet with an attorney. In general, an individual with dementia can sign a POA so long as they have the capacity to understand what the document is, what it does, and how it works. Seniors in the early stages of dementia are usually able to do this.

If your loved one is further along in the course of their illness, the matter becomes more complicated and requires court involvement. If your loved one cannot understand the POA document and process, you will need to petition the court to authorize you as POA. A judge will review the case and grant someone in the family the title of conservator. This allows the individual to make decisions concerning their loved one’s finances. A guardianship will allow the individual to make decisions concerning their loved one’s health care.

Talk to a Virginia Beach Elder Law Attorney Today 

If you need to establish power of attorney for your loved one, The Law Office of Angela N. Manz can help, no matter how far along they are in their diagnosis. Call our Virginia Beach estate planning attorneys today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin addressing your needs right away.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn